Direct evidence for coherent low velocity axonal transport of mitochondria

Kyle E. Miller, Michael P. Sheetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Axonal growth depends on axonal transport. We report the first global analysis of mitochondrial transport during axonal growth and pauses. In the proximal axon, we found that docked mitochondria attached to the cytoskeletal framework that were stationary relative to the substrate and fast axonal transport fully accounted for mitochondrial transport. In the distal axon, we found both fast mitochondrial transport and a coherent slow transport of the mitochondria docked to the axonal framework (low velocity transport [LVT]). LVT was distinct from previously described transport processes; it was coupled with stretching of the axonal framework and, surprisingly, was independent of growth cone advance. Fast mitochondrial transport decreased and LVT increased in a proximodistal gradient along the axon, but together they generated a constant mitochondrial flux. These findings suggest that the viscoelastic stretching/creep of axons caused by tension exerted by the growth cone, with or without advance, is seen as LVT that is followed by compensatory intercalated addition of new mitochondria by fast axonal transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-381
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 8 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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