Axonal plasticity in response to active forces generated through magnetic nano-pulling

Cell Rep. 2023 Jan 31;42(1):111912. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.111912. Epub 2022 Dec 29.


Mechanical force is crucial in guiding axon outgrowth before and after synapse formation. This process is referred to as "stretch growth." However, how neurons transduce mechanical input into signaling pathways remains poorly understood. Another open question is how stretch growth is coupled in time with the intercalated addition of new mass along the entire axon. Here, we demonstrate that active mechanical force generated by magnetic nano-pulling induces remodeling of the axonal cytoskeleton. Specifically, the increase in the axonal density of microtubules induced by nano-pulling leads to an accumulation of organelles and signaling vesicles, which, in turn, promotes local translation by increasing the probability of assembly of the "translation factories." Modulation of axonal transport and local translation sustains enhanced axon outgrowth and synapse maturation.

Keywords: CP: Cell biology; CP: Neuroscience; axon; force; local translation; magnetic nanoparticles; microtubules; outgrowth; remodeling; synapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Axons* / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton* / metabolism
  • Magnetic Phenomena
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology