Self-propelling vesicles define glycolysis as the minimal energy machinery for neuronal transport

Nat Commun. 2016 Oct 24;7:13233. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13233.


The glycolytic enzyme glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) facilitates fast axonal transport in neurons. However, given that GAPDH does not produce ATP, it is unclear whether glycolysis per se is sufficient to propel vesicles. Although many proteins regulating transport have been identified, the molecular composition of transported vesicles in neurons has yet to be fully elucidated. Here we selectively enrich motile vesicles and perform quantitative proteomic analysis. In addition to the expected molecular motors and vesicular proteins, we find an enrichment of all the glycolytic enzymes. Using biochemical approaches and super-resolution microscopy, we observe that most glycolytic enzymes are selectively associated with vesicles and facilitate transport of vesicles in neurons. Finally, we provide evidence that mouse brain vesicles produce ATP from ADP and glucose, and display movement in a reconstituted in vitro transport assay of native vesicles. We conclude that transport of vesicles along microtubules can be autonomous.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Glycolysis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Rats
  • Transport Vesicles / metabolism*


  • Proteome
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases