Mitochondrial swelling impairs the transport of organelles in cerebellar granule neurons.


Kaasik, Allen; Safiulina, Dzhamilja; Choubey, Vinay; Kuum, Malle; Zharkovsky, Alexander; Veksler, Vladimir

Publication Year 2007
Journal The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Pages 32821-32826
Volume 282
Issue 45
PMID 17785462.0
DOI 10.1074/jbc.M702295200

Organelle transport in neuronal processes is central to the organization, developmental fate, and functions of neurons. Organelles must be transported through the slender, highly branched neuronal processes, making the axonal transport vulnerable to any perturbation. However, some intracellular structures like mitochondria are able to considerably modify their volume. We therefore hypothesized that swollen mitochondria could impair the traffic of other organelles in neurite shafts. To test this hypothesis, we have investigated the effects of mitochondrial swellers on the organelle traffic. Our data demonstrate that treatment of neurons with potassium ionophore valinomycin led to the fast time-dependent inhibition of organelle movement in cerebellar granule neurons. Similar inhibition was observed in neurons treated with the inhibitors of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, sodium azide and antimycin, which also induced swelling. No decrease in the motility of organelles was observed in cultures treated with inhibitors of ATP production or transport, oligomycin or bongkrekic acid, suggesting that inhibition of the ATP-generating activity itself without swelling does not affect the motility of organelles. The effect of swellers on the traffic was more important in thin processes, thus indicating the role of steric hindrance of swollen mitochondria. We propose that the size and morphology of the transported cargo is also relevant for seamless axonal transport and speculate that mitochondrial swelling could be one of the reasons for impaired organelle transport in neuronal processes.