It is clear that the main cellular mission of the molecular motor kinesin-5 (known as Eg5 in vertebrates) is to cross-link antiparallel microtubules and to slide them apart, thus playing a critical role during bipolar spindle formation. Nonetheless, important questions about the cell biological and biophysical mechanisms of Eg5 remain unanswered. With the 20th ‘birthday’ of Eg5 approaching, we discuss recent insights into the in vitro and in vivo functions of Eg5, in the context of our own recent work.

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