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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):270-5. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.08.005.

Action in the axon: generation and transport of signaling endosomes.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Neurons extend axonal processes over long distances, necessitating efficient transport mechanisms to convey target-derived neurotrophic survival signals from remote distal axons to cell bodies. Retrograde transport, powered by dynein motors, supplies cell bodies with survival signals in the form of 'signaling endosomes'. In this review, we will discuss new advances in our understanding of the motor proteins that bind to and move signaling components in a retrograde direction and discuss mechanisms that might specify distinct neuronal responses to spatially restricted neurotrophin signals. Disruption of retrograde transport leads to a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, highlighting the role of retrograde transport of signaling endosomes for axonal maintenance and the importance of efficient transport for neuronal survival and function.

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