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J Neurosci. 1992 Oct;12(10):3956-67.

Cek5, a membrane receptor-type tyrosine kinase, is in neurons of the embryonic and postnatal avian brain.

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  • 1La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation, California 92037.


Cek5 is a recently identified receptor-type tyrosine kinase of the Eph subclass that is nearly ubiquitously expressed during embryonic development (Pasquale, 1991). Cek5 is predominantly expressed in the avian CNS throughout development, and high levels remain apparent in adult neurons. By means of immunofluorescence microscopy and high-resolution immunoelectron microscopy, Cek5 was found to be expressed in many regions of the chicken brain at various developmental stages, most notably in the hippocampus and cerebellum. The highest concentration of Cek5 was observed in the molecular layer of the cerebellum, associated within the axons of mature granule cells (parallel fibers) and with the cell bodies of immature granule cells. In the axons of parallel fibers, Cek5 was concentrated in the fasciculated nonsynaptic portions. This localization, together with the "adhesion" motifs present in the Cek5 extracellular region suggest that Cek5 may interact with other cell surface-associated molecules and be involved in the growth, guidance, and/or bundling of certain unmyelinated axonal processes. Alternatively (or in addition), Cek5 may represent the receptor for a neurotrophic substance, similar to several other neuronal transmembrane tyrosine kinases.

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