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Mol Cell. 2001 Jan;7(1):173-83.

Dynactin-dependent, dynein-driven vesicle transport in the absence of membrane proteins: a role for spectrin and acidic phospholipids.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


We reconstituted dynein-driven, dynactin-dependent vesicle transport using protein-free liposomes and soluble components from squid axoplasm. Dynein and dynactin, while necessary, are not the only essential cytosolic factors; axonal spectrin is also required. Spectrin is resident on axonal vesicles, and rebinds from cytosol to liposomes or proteolysed vesicles, concomitant with their dynein-dynactin-dependent motility. Binding of purified axonal spectrin to liposomes requires acidic phospholipids, as does motility. Using dominant negative spectrin polypeptides and a drug that releases PH domains from membranes, we show that spectrin is required for linking dynactin, and thereby dynein, to acidic phospholipids in the membrane. We verify this model in the context of liposomes, isolated axonal vesicles, and whole axoplasm. We conclude that spectrin has an essential role in retrograde axonal transport.

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