Visualization of Intra-neuronal Motor Protein Transport through Upconversion Microscopy

Xiao Zeng, Shuo Chen, Adam Weitemier, Sanyang Han, Agata Blasiak, Ankshita Prasad, Kezhi Zheng, Zhigao Yi, Baiwen Luo, In Hong Yang, Nitish V Thakor, Chou Chai, Kah Leong Lim, Thomas J. McHugh, Angelo Homayoun All, Xiaogang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Cargo transport along axons, a physiological process mediated by motor proteins, is essential for neuronal function and survival. A current limitation in the study of axonal transport is the lack of a robust imaging technique with a high spatiotemporal resolution to visualize and quantify the movement of motor proteins in real-time and in different depth planes. Herein, we present a dynamic imaging technique that fully exploits the characteristics of upconversion nanoparticles. This technique can be used as a microscopic probe for the quantitative in situ tracking of retrograde transport neurons with single-particle resolution in multilayered cultures. This study may provide a powerful tool to reveal dynamic neuronal activity and intra-axonal transport function as well as any associated neurodegenerative diseases resulting from mutation or impairment in the axonal transport machinery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9262-9268
Number of pages7
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019



  • axon transport
  • dynein
  • single-particle resolution
  • upconversion microscopy
  • wide-field illumination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)

Cite this

Zeng, X., Chen, S., Weitemier, A., Han, S., Blasiak, A., Prasad, A., ... Liu, X. (2019). Visualization of Intra-neuronal Motor Protein Transport through Upconversion Microscopy. Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 58(27), 9262-9268.