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Neuroscience. 2004;126(2):263-75.

The expression of PEA-15 (phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes of 15 kDa) defines subpopulations of astrocytes and neurons throughout the adult mouse brain.

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INSERM U114, Chaire de Neuropharmacologie, Coll├Ęge de France, 11 Place M. Berthelot, 75231 Paris, Cedex 05, France.


Phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes of 15 kDa (PEA-15) is an abundant phosphoprotein in primary cultures of mouse brain astrocytes. Its capability to interact with members of the apoptotic and mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades endows PEA-15 with anti-apoptotic and anti-proliferative properties. We analyzed the in vivo cellular sources of PEA-15 in the normal adult mouse brain using a novel polyclonal antibody. Immunohistochemical assays revealed numerous PEA-15-immunoreactive cells throughout the brain of wild-type adult mice while no immunoreactive signal was observed in the brain of PEA-15 -/- mice. Cell morphology and double immunofluorescent staining showed that both astrocytes and neurons could be cellular sources of PEA-15. Closer examination revealed that in a given area only part of the astrocytes expressed the protein. The hippocampus was the most striking example of this heterogeneity, a spatial segregation restricting PEA-15 positive astrocytes to the CA1 and CA3 regions. A PEA-15 immunoreactive signal was also observed in a few cells within the subventricular zone and the rostral migratory stream. In vivo analysis of an eventual PEA-15 regulation in astrocytes was performed using a model of astrogliosis occurring along motor neurons degeneration, the transgenic mouse expressing the mutant G93A human superoxyde-dismutase-1, a model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We observed a marked up-regulation of PEA-15 in reactive astrocytes that had developed throughout the ventral horn of the lumbar spinal cord of the transgenic mice. The heterogeneous cellular expression of the protein and its increased expression in pathological situations, combined with the known properties of PEA-15, suggest that PEA-15 expression is associated with a particular metabolic status of cells challenged with potentially apoptotic and/or proliferative signals.

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