Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 369–379 | Cite as

Dominant-Negative Myosin Va Impairs Retrograde but Not Anterograde Axonal Transport of Large Dense Core Vesicles

  • Claudia Margarethe Bittins
  • Tilo Wolf Eichler
  • John A. HammerIII
  • Hans-Hermann Gerdes
Original Research


Axonal transport of peptide and hormone-containing large dense core vesicles (LDCVs) is known to be a microtubule-dependent process. Here, we suggest a role for the actin-based motor protein myosin Va specifically in retrograde axonal transport of LDCVs. Using live-cell imaging of transfected hippocampal neurons grown in culture, we measured the speed, transport direction, and the number of LDCVs that were labeled with ectopically expressed neuropeptide Y fused to EGFP. Upon expression of a dominant-negative tail construct of myosin Va, a general reduction of movement in both dendrites and axons was observed. In axons, it was particularly interesting that the retrograde speed of LDCVs was significantly impaired, although anterograde transport remained unchanged. Moreover, particles labeled with the dominant-negative construct often moved in the retrograde direction but rarely in the anterograde direction. We suggest a model where myosin Va acts as an actin-dependent vesicle motor that facilitates retrograde axonal transport.


Axonal transport Hippocampal neurons Large dense core vesicles Myosin Va Neuropeptide Y 



Axon initial segment


Enhanced green fluorescent protein


Large dense core vesicle


Monomeric green/red fluorescent protein


Neuropeptide Y


Standard error of the mean


Secretory granule


Days in vitro



The imaging was performed at the Molecular Imaging Center (FUGE, Norwegian Research Council), University of Bergen. The authors are grateful to W. Almers for providing NPY-EGFP and NPY-mRFP and to the University of Bergen for financial support including research fellowships. H.-H. G. acknowledges grants from the Meltzer Foundation.

Supplementary material

NPY-EGFP labeled LDCVs in living neurons at 12 DIV. Cells were transfected with NPY-EGFP and a vector encoding mCherry (not shown). Images were taken at 1 Hz for a duration of 100 s. Scale bar 50 µm (AVI 3300 kb)

MyosinVa-tail-mCherry in living neurons at 12 DIV. Cells were double transfected with NPY-EGFP (not shown) and myosinVa-tail-mCherry. Images were taken at 1 Hz for a duration of 100 s. Scale bar 50 µm (AVI 6414 kb)

Dual-color time lapse recording of a neuron at 12 DIV, transfected with NPY-EGFP (green) and myosinVa-tail-mCherry (red) showing cotransport of the two proteins. Images were taken at 1 Hz for a duration of 100 s. Scale bar, 50 µm (AVI 2794 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Margarethe Bittins
    • 1
  • Tilo Wolf Eichler
    • 1
  • John A. HammerIII
    • 2
  • Hans-Hermann Gerdes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiomedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Laboratory of Cell Biology, Section on Molecular Cell Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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