A fundamental and still largely unresolved question is how neurons achieve rapid delivery of selected signaling receptors throughout the elaborate dendritic arbor. Here we show that this requires a conserved sorting machinery called retromer. Retromer-associated endosomes are distributed within dendrites in ∼2 μm intervals and supply frequent membrane fusion events into the dendritic shaft domain immediately adjacent to (<300 nm from) the donor endosome and typically without full endosome discharge. Retromer-associated endosomes contain β-adrenergic receptors as well as ionotropic glutamate receptors, and retromer knockdown reduces extrasynaptic insertion of adrenergic receptors as well as functional expression of AMPA and NMDA receptors at synapses. We propose that retromer supports a broadly distributed network of plasma membrane delivery to dendrites, organized in micron-scale axial territories to render essentially all regions of the postsynaptic surface within rapid diffusion distance of a local exocytic event.
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