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Dev Dyn. 1992 Nov;195(3):216-26.

Neurofibromin, a predominantly neuronal GTPase activating protein in the adult, is ubiquitously expressed during development.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio 45267-0521.


The onset of manifestations of the common, autosomal dominantly inherited disease type 1 neurofibromatosis (NF1) is usually in childhood. To begin to understand the pathogenesis of NF1, we analyzed the developmental pattern of expression of the protein product of the NF1 gene, neurofibromin, by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry using the rat as a model system. Neurofibromin is uniformly distributed throughout embryonic day 10 and 12 rat embryos. By embryonic day 16, neurofibromin immunoreactivity is enriched in neurons of the cortical plate, in peripheral ganglia, and in developing CNS and PNS fiber tracts, but remains detectable outside the nervous system. Expression decreases in nonneural tissues by postnatal day 6, and neurofibromin is greatly decreased (lung, adrenal cortex, skin) or absent (skeletal muscle, cartilage) in adult tissues except for brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and adrenal medulla. Transient expression of neurofibromin during development in many tissues suggests the importance of this GTPase-activating protein in morphogenesis and organ growth. A separate role is proposed for neurofibromin in growing axons and in the mature nervous system.

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