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Mol Neurobiol. 1991;5(2-4):131-41.

Molecular analysis of the function of the neuronal growth-associated protein GAP-43 by genetic intervention.

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  • 1Department of Psychobiology, University of California, Irvine 92717.


GAP-43 is a presynaptic membrane phosphoprotein that has been implicated in both the development and the modulation of neural connections. The availability of cDNA clones for GAP-43 makes it possible to examine with greater precision its role in neuronal outgrowth and physiology. We used Northern blots and in situ hybridization with GAP-43 antisense RNA probes to show that GAP-43 is expressed selectively in associative regions of the adult brain. Immunocytochemical analyses showed alterations in the pattern of GAP-43 expression in the hippocampus during reactive synaptogenesis following lesions of the perforant pathway. Genetic intervention methodology was used to analyze the molecular nature of GAP-43 involvement in synaptic plasticity. GAP-43-transfected PC12 cells displayed an enhanced response to nerve growth factor, suggesting that GAP-43 may be directly involved in neurite extension and in the modulation of the neuronal response to extrinsic trophic factors. Studies of PC12 cell transfectants, in which the synthesis of GAP-43 was blocked by expression of GAP-43 antisense RNA, showed that evoked dopamine release was significantly attenuated in these cells. The use of gene transfer into neurons with the HSV-1 vector is presented as a method of analyzing the interaction of GAP-43 with signal transduction systems during neurotransmitter release.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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