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FEBS Lett. 2007 Jun 26;581(16):2905-13. Epub 2007 May 25.

Quantitative single particle tracking of NGF-receptor complexes: transport is bidirectional but biased by longer retrograde run lengths.

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Centro de Microscopías Avanzadas, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Intendente Güiraldes 2160, Pabellón I, Ciudad Universitaria, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


The retrograde transport of nerve growth factor (NGF) in neurite-like processes of living differentiated PC12 cells was studied using streptavidin-quantum dots (QDs) coupled to monobiotin-NGF. These reagents were active in differentiation, binding, internalization, and transport. Ten-35% of the QD-NGF-receptor complexes were mobile. Quantitative single particle tracking revealed a bidirectional step-like motion, requiring intact microtubules, with a net retrograde velocity of 0.054+/-0.020 microm/s. Individual runs had a mean velocity of approximately 0.15 microm/s at room temperature, and the run times were exponentially distributed. The photostability and brightness of QDs permit extended real-time analysis of individual QDbNGF- receptor complexes trafficking within neurites.

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