Spatial regulation of microtubule-dependent transport by septin GTPases

The intracellular long-range transport of membrane vesicles and organelles is mediated by microtubule motors (kinesins, dynein) which move cargo with spatiotemporal accuracy and efficiency. How motors navigate the microtubule network and coordinate their activity on membrane cargo are fundamental but poorly understood questions. New studies show that microtubule-dependent membrane traffic is spatially controlled by septins – a unique family of multimerizing GTPases that associate with microtubules and membrane organelles. We review how septins selectively regulate motor interactions with microtubules and membrane cargo. We posit that septins provide a novel traffic code that specifies the movement and directionality of select motor-cargo complexes on distinct microtubule tracks.