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Autophagy. 2008 Feb;4(2):243-5. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

Transport of autophagosomes in neurites of PC12 cells during serum deprivation.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Key Laboratory of Biomedical Engineering of Ministry of Education, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, P.R. China.


Autophagy has been linked to various human diseases, including many neurodegenerative disorders. The induction of autophagy has been detected in degenerating neurites initiated by different experimental paradigms and hence is of major interest. Axonal and dendritic degeneration was significantly delayed either by the application of the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) or by knocking down the key autophagy-related genes Atg7 and Beclin 1. In addition, Tomato-LC3-labelled autophagosomes accumulate in neuritic beadings of PC12 cells during nerve growth factor (NGF) deprivation, which might be due to the failure of neurite transport. However, little is known about routes and dynamics of autophagosomes in the neurites of living cells. Here, we further demonstrate that LC3-labelled small autophagosomes are motile and move along the neurites of PC12 cells in both anterograde and retrograde directions after serum deprivation. The autophagosomes paused, re-started, and sometimes changed directions. These results provide valuable insight into neuritic transport of autophagosomes and imply a close relationship between the autophagic process and neurite degeneration.

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