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J Neurobiol. 2002 Jun 15;51(4):302-12.

High-resolution imaging demonstrates dynein-based vesicular transport of activated Trk receptors.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Target-derived neurotrophins signal from nerve endings to the cell body to influence cellular and nuclear responses. The retrograde signal is conveyed by neurotrophin receptors (Trks) themselves. To accomplish this, activated Trks may physically relocalize from nerve endings to the cell bodies. However, alternative signaling mechanisms may also be used. To identify the vehicle wherein the activated Trks are located and transported, and to identify associated motor proteins that would facilitate transport, we use activation-state specific antibodies in concert with immunoelectron microscopy and deconvolution microscopy. We show that the'activated Trks within rat sciatic nerve axons are preferentially localized to coated and uncoated vesicles. These vesicles are moving in a retrograde direction and so accumulate distal to a ligation site. The P-Trk containing vesicles, in turn, colocalize with dynein components, and not with kinesins. Collectively, these results indicate activated Trk within axons travel in vesicles and dynein is the motor that drives these vesicles towards the cell bodies.

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