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Int Rev Cytol. 2003;230:1-39.

The thrombospondin type 1 repeat (TSR) and neuronal differentiation: roles of SCO-spondin oligopeptides on neuronal cell types and cell lines.

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  • 1INSERUM UMR 384 et Laboratoire de Biochimie médicale, F-63001 Clermont-Ferrand, France.


SCO-spondin is a large glycoprotein secreted by ependymal cells of the subcommissural organ. It shares functional domains called thrombospondin type 1 repeats (TSRs) with a number of developmental proteins expressed in the central nervous system, and involved in axonal pathfinding. Also, SCO-spondin is highly conserved in the chordate phylum and its multiple domain organization is probably a chordate innovation. The putative involvement of SCO-spondin in neuron/glia interaction in the course of development is assessed in various cell culture systems. SCO-spondin interferes with several developmental processes, including neuronal survival, neurite extension, neuronal aggregation, and fasciculation. The TSR motifs, and especially the WSGWSSCSVSCG sequence, are most important in these neuronal responses. Integrins and growth factor receptors may cooperate as integrative signals. We discuss the putative involvement of the subcommissural organ/Reissner's fiber complex in developmental events, as a particular extracellular signaling system.

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