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Immunol Cell Biol. 2000 Aug;78(4):430-5.

Signalling organelle for retrograde axonal transport of internalized neurotrophins from the nerve terminal.

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Developmental Neurobiology Group, Division of Neuroscience, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra.


The retrograde axonal transport of neurotrophins occurs after receptor-mediated endocytosis into vesicles at the nerve terminal. We have been investigating the process of targeting these vesicles for retrograde transport, by examining the transport of [125I]-labelled neurotrophins from the eye to sympathetic and sensory ganglia. With the aid of confocal microscopy, we examined the phenomena further in cultures of dissociated sympathetic ganglia to which rhodamine-labelled nerve growth factor (NGF) was added. We found the label in large vesicles in the growth cone and axons. Light microscopic examination of the sympathetic nerve trunk in vivo also showed the retrogradely transported material to be sporadically located in large structures in the axons. Ultrastructural examination of the sympathetic nerve trunk after the transport of NGF bound to gold particles showed the label to be concentrated in relatively few large organelles that consisted of accumulations of multivesicular bodies. These results suggest that in vivo NGF is transported in specialized organelles that require assembly in the nerve terminal.

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