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Lund, V.K., Lycas, M.D., Schack, A., Andersen, R.C., Gether, U., Kjaerulff, O. (2021). Rab2 drives axonal transport of dense core vesicles and lysosomal organelles.  Cell Rep. 35(2): 108973.
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Fast axonal transport of neuropeptide-containing dense core vesicles (DCVs), endolysosomal organelles, and presynaptic components is critical for maintaining neuronal functionality. How the transport of DCVs is orchestrated remains an important unresolved question. The small GTPase Rab2 mediates DCV biogenesis and endosome-lysosome fusion. Here, we use Drosophila to demonstrate that Rab2 also plays a critical role in bidirectional axonal transport of DCVs, endosomes, and lysosomal organelles, most likely by controlling molecular motors. We further show that the lysosomal motility factor Arl8 is required as well for axonal transport of DCVs, but unlike Rab2, it is also critical for DCV exit from cell bodies into axons. We also provide evidence that the upstream regulators of Rab2 and Arl8, Ema and BORC, activate these GTPases during DCV transport. Our results uncover the mechanisms underlying axonal transport of DCVs and reveal surprising parallels between the regulation of DCV and lysosomal motility.

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