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Plus- and minus-end vesicle populations from squid axoplasm were isolated from each other by selective extraction of the minus-end vesicle motor followed by 5'-adenylyl imidodiphosphate (AMP-PNP)- induced microtubule affinity purification of the plus-end vesicles. In the presence of cytosol containing both plus- and minus-end motors, the isolated populations moved strictly in opposite directions along microtubules in vitro. Remarkably, when treated with trypsin before incubation with cytosol, purified plus-end vesicles moved exclusively to microtubule minus ends instead of moving in the normal plus-end direction. This reversal in the direction of movement of trypsinized plus-end vesicles, in light of further observation that cytosol promotes primarily minus-end movement of liposomes, suggests that the machinery for cytoplasmic dynein-driven, minus-end vesicle movement can establish a functional interaction with the lipid bilayers of both vesicle populations. The additional finding that kinesin overrides cytoplasmic dynein when both are bound to bead surfaces indicates that the direction of vesicle movement could be regulated simply by the presence or absence of a tightly bound, plus-end kinesin motor; being processive and tightly bound, the kinesin motor would override the activity of cytoplasmic dynein because the latter is weakly bound to vesicles and less processive. In support of this model, it was found that (a) only plus-end vesicles copurified with tightly bound kinesin motors; and (b) both plus- and minus-end vesicles bound cytoplasmic dynein from cytosol.