Type I brain hexokinase: axonal transport and membrane associations within central nervous system presynaptic terminals

J Neurochem. 1996 Aug;67(2):845-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.1996.67020845.x.


While studying the delivery of cytoplasmic proteins to the presynaptic terminals of CNS neurons, we discovered unique characteristics of one protein (p118) conveyed in slow component b (SCb) of axonal transport, the large group of proteins representing the cytoplasmic matrix. Alone among the SCb group, p118 coisolated with the synaptic junctional complex on biochemical fractionation of the radiolabeled synaptic regions. Purification and amino acid sequencing of this protein revealed it is most likely the guinea pig form of type I (brain) hexokinase (ATP:D-hexose 6-phosphotransferase, EC Further biochemical treatments were consistent with this identity. The majority of type I brain hexokinase has been thought to be associated primarily with membranes, in particular the mitochondrial outer membrane. We found that the majority of type I hexokinase is transported toward the terminals at a rate at least 10 times slower than that exhibited by the maximal or average rate of mitochondria. This suggests that, in the axon, the enzyme exhibits transient or dynamic interactions with mitochondria that are moving more rapidly. It is not clear whether hexokinase binds exclusively to mitochondria, or also exhibits association with nonmitochondrial membranes. The unexpected enrichment of hexokinase during synaptic junctional complex purification may result from its strong association with the presynaptic membrane portion of the synapse.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hexokinase / metabolism*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Isoenzymes
  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Hexokinase