We have identified and characterized a COOH-terminal motor domain-type kinesin superfamily protein (KIFC), KIFC3, in the kidney. KIFC3 is a minus end-directed microtubule motor protein, therefore it accumulates in regions where minus ends of microtubules assemble. In polarized epithelial cells, KIFC3 is localized on membrane organelles immediately beneath the apical plasma membrane of renal tubular epithelial cells in vivo and polarized MDCK II cells in vitro. Flotation assay, coupled with detergent extraction, demonstrated that KIFC3 is associated with Triton X-100-insoluble membrane organelles, and that it overlaps with apically transported TGN-derived vesicles. This was confirmed by immunoprecipitation and by GST pulldown experiments showing the specific colocalization of KIFC3 and annexin XIIIb, a previously characterized membrane protein for apically transported vesicles (Lafont, F., S. Lecat, P. Verkade, and K. Simons. 1998. J. Cell Biol. 142:1413-1427). Furthermore, we proved that the apical transport of both influenza hemagglutinin and annexin XIIIb was partially inhibited or accelerated by overexpression of motor-domainless (dominant negative) or full-length KIFC3, respectively. Absence of cytoplasmic dynein on these annexin XIIIb-associated vesicles and distinct distribution of the two motors on the EM level verified the existence of KIFC3-driven transport in epithelial cells.