Kinesin-5 family members cross-link and slide parallel microtubules of opposite polarity, an activity that is essential for the formation of a bipolar spindle during mitosis. In this issue, Kapitein et al. (Kapitein, L.C., B.H. Kwok, J.S. Weinger, C.F. Schmidt, T.M. Kapoor, and E.J.G. Peterman. 2008. J. Cell Biol. 182:421–428) demonstrate that microtubule cross-linking triggers the conversion of kinesin-5 motility from a diffusive mode to a directional mode, initiating antiparallel microtubule sliding
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