FRAP analysis of the stability of the microtubule population along the neurites of chick sensory neurons

Cell Motil Cytoskeleton. 1993;25(1):59-72. doi: 10.1002/cm.970250108.


In order to study microtubule turnover in elongating neurites, chick embryo sensory neurons were microinjected with x-rhodamine tubulin, and after 6-12 hours, short segments along chosen neurites were photobleached at multiple sites. Previous studies [Lim et al., 1989; 1990] indicated that recovery of fluorescence (FRAP) in neurites occurs by the dynamic turnover of stationary microtubules. In all cases, distal bleached zones recovered fluorescence faster than bleached zones more proximally located along the same neurites. Bleached zones at growth cones completely recovered in 30-40 minutes, while bleached zones located more proximally usually recovered in 50-120 minutes. In the most proximal regions of long neurites, recovery of fluorescence was often incomplete, indicating that a significant fraction of the microtubules in these regions were very stable. These studies indicate that there are differences in microtubule stability along the length of growing neurites. These differences may arise from the combined effects of 1) modifications that stabilize and lengthen microtubules in maturing neurites and 2) the dynamic instability of the distally oriented microtubule plus ends.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ganglia, Spinal / ultrastructure
  • Lasers
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Neurites / ultrastructure*
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure*
  • Rhodamines
  • Tubulin


  • Rhodamines
  • Tubulin