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B-50, the growth associated protein-43

Research group Verhaagen
Publication year 1997
Published in Progress in Neurobiology
Authors A B Oestreicher, Pierre N E de Graan, Willem Hendrik Gispen, J. Verhaagen, L H Schrama

The growth-associated protein B-50 (GAP-43) is a presynaptic protein. Its expression is largely restricted to the nervous system. B-50 is frequently used as a marker for sprouting, because it is located in growth cones, maximally expressed during nervous system development and re-induced in injured and regenerating neural tissues. The B-50 gene is highly conserved during evolution. The B-50 gene contains two promoters and three exons which specify functional domains of the protein. The first exon encoding the 1-10 sequence, harbors the palmitoylation site for attachment to the axolemma and the minimal domain for interaction with G0 protein. The second exon contains the “GAP module”, including the calmodulin binding and the protein kinase C phosphorylation domain which is shared by the family of IQ proteins. Downstream sequences of the second and non-coding sequences in the third exon encode species variability. The third exon also contains a conserved domain for phosphorylation by casein kinase II. Functional interference experiments using antisense oligonucleotides or antibodies, have shown inhibition of neurite outgrowth and neurotransmitter release. Overexpression of B-50 in cells or transgenic mice results in excessive sprouting. The various interactions, specified by the structural domains, are thought to underlie the role of B-50 in synaptic plasticity, participating in membrane extension during neuritogenesis, in neurotransmitter release and long-term potentiation. Apparently, B-50 null-mutant mice do not display gross phenotypic changes of the nervous system, although the B-50 deletion affects neuronal pathfinding and reduces postnatal survival. The experimental evidence suggests that neuronal morphology and communication are critically modulated by, but not absolutely dependent on, (enhanced) B-50 presence.

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