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FEBS Lett. 2006 Aug 21;580(19):4723-6. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

Interfering polysialyltransferase ST8SiaII/STX mRNA inhibits neurite growth during early hippocampal development.

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Instituto de Investigaciones Biotecnológicas-Instituto Tecnológico de Chascomús-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas-Universidad Nacional de General San Martín, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Polysialic acid (PSA) attached to NCAM is involved in cell-cell interactions participating in structural and functional plasticity of neuronal circuits. Two polysialyltransferases, ST8SiaII/STX and ST8SiaIV/PST, polysialylate NCAM. We previously suggested that ST8SiaII/STX is the key enzyme for polysialylation in hippocampus. Here, polysialyltransferase mRNA interference experiments showed that, knock down of ST8SiaIV/PST transcripts did not affect PSA expression, but PSA was almost absent from neuronal surfaces when ST8SiaII/STX mRNA was interfered. Non-polysialylated neurons bore a similar number of neurites per cell than polysialylated neurons. However, non-polysialylated processes were shorter and a lower density of synaptophysin clusters accompanied this reduced neuritic growth. Therefore, ST8SiaII/STX expression is essential to allow a correct neuritic development at initial stages of hippocampus ontogeny.

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