Basic mechanisms for recognition and transport of synaptic cargos

Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, 3015GE, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
Molecular Brain (Impact Factor: 4.9). 09/2009; 2(1):25. DOI: 10.1186/1756-6606-2-25
Source: PubMed


Synaptic cargo trafficking is essential for synapse formation, function and plasticity. In order to transport synaptic cargo, such as synaptic vesicle precursors, mitochondria, neurotransmitter receptors and signaling proteins to their site of action, neurons make use of molecular motor proteins. These motors operate on the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton and are highly regulated so that different cargos can be transported to distinct synaptic specializations at both pre- and post-synaptic sites. How synaptic cargos achieve specificity, directionality and timing of transport is a developing area of investigation. Recent studies demonstrate that the docking of motors to their cargos is a key control point. Moreover, precise spatial and temporal regulation of motor-cargo interactions is important for transport specificity and cargo recruitment. Local signaling pathways Ca2+ influx, CaMKII signaling and Rab GTPase activity regulate motor activity and cargo release at synaptic locations. We discuss here how different motors recognize their synaptic cargo and how motor-cargo interactions are regulated by neuronal activity.

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