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J Neurochem. 1999 Jul;73(1):429-32.

Expression of the SM-20 gene promotes death in nerve growth factor-dependent sympathetic neurons.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine, New York 14642, USA.


Sympathetic neurons undergo apoptosis when deprived of nerve growth factor (NGF). Inhibitors of RNA or protein synthesis block this death, suggesting that gene expression is important for apoptosis in this system. We have identified SM-20 as a new gene that increases in expression in sympathetic neurons after NGF withdrawal. Expression of SM-20 also increases during neuronal death caused by cytosine arabinoside or the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002. In addition, SM-20 protein synthesis is elevated in NGF-deprived neurons compared with neurons maintained with NGF. Importantly, expression of SM-20 in sympathetic neurons causes cell death in the presence of NGF. These results suggest that SM-20 may function to regulate cell death in neurons.

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