F-actin patches associated with glutamatergic synapses control positioning of dendritic lysosomes

EMBO J. 2019 Aug 1;38(15):e101183. doi: 10.15252/embj.2018101183. Epub 2019 Jun 27.


Organelle positioning within neurites is required for proper neuronal function. In dendrites, with their complex cytoskeletal organization, transport of organelles is guided by local specializations of the microtubule and actin cytoskeleton, and by coordinated activity of different motor proteins. Here, we focus on the actin cytoskeleton in the dendritic shaft and describe dense structures consisting of longitudinal and branched actin filaments. These actin patches are devoid of microtubules and are frequently located at the base of spines, or form an actin mesh around excitatory shaft synapses. Using lysosomes as an example, we demonstrate that the presence of actin patches has a strong impact on dendritic organelle transport, as lysosomes frequently stall at these locations. We provide mechanistic insights on this pausing behavior, demonstrating that actin patches form a physical barrier for kinesin-driven cargo. In addition, we identify myosin Va as an active tether which mediates long-term stalling. This correlation between the presence of actin meshes and halting of organelles could be a generalized principle by which synapses control organelle trafficking.

Keywords: F-actin; lysosome; microtubule; myosin; shaft synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendrites / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Kinesins / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Synapses / metabolism*


  • Actins
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Kinesins