The role of myosin V in exocytosis and synaptic plasticity

J Neurochem. 2011 Jan;116(2):177-91. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2010.07110.x.


In neuroscience, myosin V motor proteins have attracted attention since they are highly expressed in brain, and absence of myosin Va in man leads to a severe neurological disease called Griscelli syndrome. While in some cells myosin V is described to act as a vesicle transport motor, an additional role in exocytosis has emerged recently. In neurons, myosin V has been linked to exocytosis of secretory vesicles and recycling endosomes. Through these functions, it is implied in regulating important brain functions including the release of neuropeptides by exocytosis of large dense-core vesicles and the insertion of neurotransmitter receptors into post-synaptic membranes. This review focuses on the role of myosin V in (i) axonal transport and stimulated exocytosis of large dense-core vesicles to regulate the secretion of neuroactive substances, (ii) tethering of the endoplasmic reticulum at cerebellar synapses to permit long-term depression, (iii) recycling of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptors at hippocampal synapses during long-term potentiation, and (iv) recycling of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. Myosin V is thus discussed as an important modulator of synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / deficiency
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / genetics
  • Myosin Heavy Chains / physiology
  • Myosin Type V / chemistry
  • Myosin Type V / deficiency
  • Myosin Type V / genetics
  • Myosin Type V / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Synapses / genetics
  • Synapses / pathology
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • MYO5A protein, human
  • Myosin Type V
  • Myosin Heavy Chains