Transport of ER vesicles on actin filaments in neurons by myosin V

Joel S. Tabb, Bradley J. Molyneaux, Darien L. Cohen, Sergei A. Kuznetsov, George M. Langford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Axoplasmic organelles in the giant axon of the squid have been shown to move on both actin filaments and microtubules and to switch between actin filaments and microtubules during fast axonal transport. The objectives of this investigation were to identify the specific classes of axoplasmic organelles that move on actin filaments and the myosin motors involved. We developed a procedure to isolate endoplasmic reticulum (ER) from extruded axoplasm and to reconstitute its movement in vitro. The isolated ER vesicles moved on exogenous actin filaments adsorbed to coverslips in an ATP-dependent manner without the addition of soluble factors. Therefore myosin was tightly bound and not extracted during isolation. These vesicles were identified as smooth ER by use of an antibody to an ER-resident protein, ERcalcistorin/protein disulfide isomerase (EcaSt/PDI). Furthermore, an antibody to squid myosin V was used in immunogold EM studies to show that myosin V localized to these vesicles. The antibody was generated to a squid brain myosin (p196) that was classified as myosin V based on comparisons of amino acid sequences of tryptic peptides of this myosin with those of other known members of the myosin V family. Dual labeling with the squid myosin V antibody and a kinesin heavy chain antibody showed that the two motors colocalized on the same vesicles. Finally, antibody inhibition experiments were performed with two myosin V-specific antibodies to show that myosin V motor activity is required for transport of vesicles on actin filaments in axoplasm. One antibody was made to a peptide in the globular tail domain and the other to the globular head fragment of myosin V. Both antibodies inhibited vesicle transport on actin filaments by greater than 90% compared to controls. These studies provide the first direct evidence that ER vesicles are transported on actin filaments by myosin V. These data confirm the role of actin filaments in fast axonal transport and provide support for the dual filament model of vesicle transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3221-3234
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin filament
  • Axonal transport
  • ER transport
  • Myosin V
  • Organelle/vesicle movement
  • Squid giant axon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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