María de los Ángeles Juricic Urzúa, Javiera Gallardo Rojas, Andrés Couve Correa, Mauricio Cerda, Steffen Härtel Gründler, Carolina González-Silva

The endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-to-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) is a membranous organelle that mediates protein transport between the ER and the Golgi apparatus. In neurons, clusters of these vesiculotubular structures are situated throughout the cell in proximity to the ER, passing cargo to the cis-Golgi cisternae, located mainly in the perinuclear region. Although ERGIC markers have been identified in neurons, the distribution and dynamics of neuronal ERGIC structures have not been characterized yet. Here, we show that long-distance ERGIC transport occurs via an intermittent mechanism in dendrites, with mobile elements moving between stationary structures. Slow and fast live-cell imaging have captured stable ERGIC structures remaining in place over long periods of time, as well as mobile ERGIC structures advancing very short distances along dendrites. These short distances have been consistent with the lengths between the stationary ERGIC structures. Kymography revealed ERGIC elements that moved intermittently, emerging from and fusing with stationary ERGIC structures. Interestingly, this movement apparently depends not only on the integrity of the microtubule cytoskeleton, as previously reported, but on the actin cytoskeleton as well. Our results indicate that the dendritic ERGIC has a dual nature, with both stationary and mobile structures. The neural ERGIC network transports proteins via a stop-and-go movement in which both the microtubule and the actin cytoskeletons participate.