Organelles in fast axonal transport

Author(s): Dahlström AB, Czernik AJ, Li JY


The present minireview describes experiments carried out, in short-term crush-operated rat nerves, using immunofluorescence and cytofluorimetric scanning techniques to study endogenous substances in anterograde and retrograde fast axonal transport. Vesicle membrane components p38 (synaptophysin) and SV2 are accumulating on both sides of a crush, but a larger proportion of p38 (about 3/4) than of SV2 (about 1/2) is recycling toward the cell body, compared to the amount carried with anterograde transport. Matrix peptides, such as CGRP, ChRA, VIP, and DBH are recycling to a minor degree, although only 10-20% of surface-associated molecules, such as synapsins and kinesin, appear to recycle. The described methodological approach to study the composition of organelles in fast axonal transport, anterograde as compared to retrograde, is shown to be useful for investigating neurobiological processes. We make use of the "in vivo chromatography" process that the fast axonal transport system constitutes. Only substances that are in some way either stored in, or associated with, transported organelles can be clearly observed to accumulate relative to the crush region. Emphasis in this paper was given to the synapsins, because of diverging results published concerning the degree of affiliation with various neuronal organelles. Our previously published results have indicated that in the living axons the SYN I is affiliated with mainly anterogradely fast transported organelles. Therefore, some preliminary, previously unpublished results on the accumulations of the four different synapsins (SYN Ia, SYN Ib, SYN IIa, and SYN IIb), using antisera specific for each of the four members of the synapsin family, are described. It was found that SYN Ib clearly has a stronger affiliation to anterogradely transported organelles than SYN Ia, and that both SYN IIa and SYN IIb are bound to some degree to transported organelles.

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