Slow transport of tubulin in the neurites of differentiated PC12 cells

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Science  16 Jan 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4786, pp. 337-339
DOI: 10.1126/science.2432662


In order to study the rate and form of tubulin transport in cultured neuronal cells, the fluorescence recovery after the photobleaching of a fluorescent tubulin analog has been followed within the neuritic processes of differentiated PC12 cells. In these cells, as in peripheral axons, tubulin is transported in coherent, nondiffusing waves at two different slow rates that are within the range of the slow components a and b of axonal transport measured in vivo. Finally, it appears that most, if not all, of the tubulin analog is moving out these processes. Thus, slow neuroplasmic transport in cultured neuron-like cells is a good model of axonal transport, in which experimental manipulations of the system can be performed that would be difficult in the whole animal.