Retrograde transport of NF-κB from the synapse to the nucleus in neurons is mediated by the dynein/dynactin motor complex and can be triggered by synaptic activation. The caliber of axons is highly variable ranging down to 100 nm, aggravating the investigation of transport processes in neurites of living neurons using conventional light microscopy. We quantified for the first time the transport of the NF-κB subunit p65 using high-density single-particle tracking in combination with photoactivatable fluorescent proteins in living mouse hippocampal neurons. We detected an increase of the mean diffusion coefficient ([Formula: see text]) in neurites from [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] after stimulation with glutamate. We further observed that the relative amount of retrogradely transported p65 molecules is increased after stimulation. Glutamate treatment resulted in an increase of the mean retrograde velocity from [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text], whereas a velocity increase from [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] was observed for anterogradely transported p65. This study demonstrates for the first time that glutamate stimulation leads to an increased mobility of single NF-κB p65 molecules in neurites of living hippocampal neurons.
Keywords: NF-kappaB; neurons; retrograde transport; single molecule; single-particle tracking with photoactivated-localization microscopy.