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Mol Neurobiol. 1998 Jun;16(3):269-84.

14-3-3 proteins in neuronal development and function.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The 14-3-3 proteins are small, cytosolic, evolutionarily conserved proteins expressed abundantly in the nervous system. Although they were discovered more than 30 yr ago, their function in the nervous system has remained enigmatic. Several recent studies have helped to clarify their biological function. Crystallographic investigations have revealed that 14-3-3 proteins exist as dimers and that they contain a specific region for binding to other proteins. The interacting proteins, in turn, contain a 14-3-3 binding motif; proteins that interact with 14-3-3 dimers include PKC and Raf, protein kinases with critical roles in neuronal signaling. These proteins are capable of activating Raf in vitro, and this role has been verified by in vivo studies in Drosophila. Most interestingly, mutations in the Drosophila 14-3-3 genes disrupt neuronal differentiation, synaptic plasticity, and behavioral plasticity, establishing a role for these proteins in the development and function of the nervous system.

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