Fast axonal transport in extruded axoplasm from squid giant axon

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Science  10 Dec 1982:
Vol. 218, Issue 4577, pp. 1129-1131
DOI: 10.1126/science.6183745


Development of video-enhanced contrast-differential interference contrast for light microscopy has permitted study of both orthograde and retrograde fast axonal transport of membranous organelles in the squid giant axon. This process was found to continue normally for hours after the axoplasm was extruded from the giant axon and removed from the confines of the axonal plasma membrane. It is now possible to follow the movements of the full range of membranous organelles (30-nanometer vesicles to 5000-nanometer mitochondria) in a preparation that lacks a plasma membrane or other permeability barrier. This observation demonstrates that the plasma membrane is not required for fast axonal transport and suggests that action potentials are not involved in the regulation of fast transport. Furthermore, the absence of a permeability barrier surrounding the axoplasm makes this an important model for biochemical pharmacological, and physical manipulations of membranous organelle transport.

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