Synaptic cargo transport by kinesin and dynein in hippocampal neurons was investigated by noninvasively measuring the transport force based on nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. Although direct physical measurements such as force measurement using optical tweezers are difficult in an intracellular environment, the noninvasive estimations enabled enumerating force-producing units (FPUs) carrying a cargo comprising the motor proteins generating force. The number of FPUs served as a barometer for stable and long-distance transport by multiple motors, which was then used to quantify the extent of damage to axonal transport by dynarrestin, a dynein inhibitor. We found that dynarrestin decreased the FPU for retrograde transport more than for anterograde transport. This result indicates the applicability of the noninvasive force measurements. In the future, these measurements may be used to quantify damage to axonal transport resulting from neuronal diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases.
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