Open Access Research article

Myosin-Vb functions as a dynamic tether for peripheral endocytic compartments during transferrin trafficking

D William Provance1, Erin J Addison1, Patrick R Wood12, David Z Chen13, Colleen M Silan1 and John A Mercer1*

Author Affiliations

1 McLaughlin Research Institute, Great Falls, MT, USA

2 University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA

3 Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA

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BMC Cell Biology 2008, 9:44  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-9-44

Published: 7 August 2008



Myosin-Vb has been shown to be involved in the recycling of diverse proteins in multiple cell types. Studies on transferrin trafficking in HeLa cells using a dominant-negative myosin-Vb tail fragment suggested that myosin-Vb was required for recycling from perinuclear compartments to the plasma membrane. However, chemical-genetic, dominant-negative experiments, in which myosin-Vb was specifically induced to bind to actin, suggested that the initial hypothesis was incorrect both in its site and mode of myosin-Vb action. Instead, the chemical-genetic data suggested that myosin-Vb functions in the actin-rich periphery as a dynamic tether on peripheral endosomes, retarding transferrin transport to perinuclear compartments.


In this study, we employed both approaches, with the addition of overexpression of full-length wild-type myosin-Vb and switching the order of myosin-Vb inhibition and transferrin loading, to distinguish between these hypotheses. Overexpression of full-length myosin-Vb produced large peripheral endosomes. Chemical-genetic inhibition of myosin-Vb after loading with transferrin did not prevent movement of transferrin from perinuclear compartments; however, virtually all myosin-Vb-decorated particles, including those moving on microtubules, were halted by the inhibition. Overexpression of the myosin-Vb tail caused a less-peripheral distribution of early endosome antigen-1 (EEA1).


All results favored the peripheral dynamic tethering hypothesis.