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J Neurobiol. 2004 Feb 5;58(2):164-74.

Myosin-dependent transport in neurons.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University School of Medicine, Box 8108, 660 S. Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Axonal transport in neurons has been shown to be microtubule dependent, driven by the molecular motor proteins kinesin and dynein. However, organelles undergoing fast transport can often pause or rapidly change directions without apparent dissociation from their transport tracks. Cytoskeletal polymers such as neurofilaments and microtubules have also been shown to make infrequent but rapid movements in axons indicating that their transport is likely to involve molecular motors. In addition, neurons have multiple compartments that are devoid of microtubules where transport of organelles is still seen to occur. These areas are rich in other cytoskeletal polymers such as actin filaments. Transported organelles have been shown to associate with multiple motor proteins including myosins. This suggests that nonmicrotubule-based transport may be myosin driven. In this review we will focus our attention on myosin motors known to be present in neurons and evaluate the evidence that they contribute to transport or other functions in the different compartments of the neuron.

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