C-terminal phosphorylation of the high molecular weight neurofilament subunit correlates with decreased neurofilament axonal transport velocity

Brain Res. 2000 Feb 21;856(1-2):12-9. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(99)02314-8.


We probed the relationship of NF axonal transport of neurofilaments (NFs) to their phosphorylation state by comparing these parameters in two closely-aged groups of young adult mice - 2 and 5 months of age. This particular time interval was selected since prior studies demonstrate that optic axons have already completed axonal caliber expansion and attained adult NF levels by 2 months but, as shown herein, continue to increase NF-H C-terminal phosphorylation. NF axonal transport was monitored by autoradiographic analysis of the distribution of radiolabeled subunits immunoprecipitated from optic axon segments at intervals following intravitreal injection of 35S-methionine. Both the peak and front of radiolabeled NFs translocated faster in 2- vs. 5-month-old mice. This developmental decline in NF transport rate was not due to reduced incorporation of NFs into the cytoskeleton, nor to an overall decline in slow axonal transport. By excluding or minimizing other factors, these findings support previous conclusions that C-terminal NF phosphorylation regulates NF axonal transport.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Optic Nerve / growth & development
  • Optic Nerve / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Retina / growth & development
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development
  • Visual Pathways / physiology


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • fodrin
  • Methionine