Title

A Mechanism for Neurofilament Transport Acceleration through Nodes of Ranvier

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-19-2020

Abstract

© 2020 Ciocanel et al. Neurofilaments are abundant space-filling cytoskeletal polymers in axons that are transported along microtubule tracks. Neurofilament transport is accelerated at nodes of Ranvier, where axons are locally constricted. Strikingly, these constrictions are accompanied by sharp decreases in neurofilament number, no decreases in microtubule number, and increases in the packing density of these polymers, which collectively bring nodal neurofilaments closer to their microtubule tracks. We hypothesize that this leads to an increase in the proportion of time that the filaments spend moving and that this can explain the local acceleration. To test this, we developed a stochastic model of neurofilament transport that tracks their number, kinetic state, and proximity to nearby microtubules in space and time. The model assumes that the probability of a neurofilament moving is dependent on its distance from the nearest available microtubule track. Taking into account experimentally reported numbers and densities for neurofilaments and microtubules in nodes and internodes, we show that the model is sufficient to explain the local acceleration of neurofilaments within nodes of Ranvier. This suggests that proximity to microtubule tracks may be a key regulator of neurofilament transport in axons, which has implications for the mechanism of neurofilament accumulation in development and disease.

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