Slow axonal transport and the genesis of neuronal morphology

J Neurobiol. 2004 Jan;58(1):3-17. doi: 10.1002/neu.10281.


The classic view of slow axonal transport maintains that microtubules, neurofilaments, and actin filaments move down the axon relatively coherently at rates significantly slower than those characteristic of known motor proteins. Recent studies indicate that the movement of these cytoskeletal polymers is actually rapid, asynchronous, intermittent, and most probably fueled by familiar motors such as kinesins, myosins, and cytoplasmic dynein. This new view, which is supported by both live-cell imaging and mechanistic analyses, suggests that slow axonal transport is both rapid and plastic, and hence could underlie transformations in neuronal morphology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*