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J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(4):1377-86. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-1335.

The neuroprotective peptide NAP does not directly affect polymerization or dynamics of reconstituted neural microtubules.

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Department of Molecular, The Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA.


NAP (Asn-Ala-Pro-Val-Ser-Ile-Pro-Gln) is a neuroprotective peptide that shows cognitive protection in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. NAP exhibits potent neuroprotective properties in several in vivo and cellular models of neural injury. While NAP has been found in many studies to affect microtubule assembly and/or stability in neuronal and glial cells at fM concentrations, it has remained unclear whether NAP acts directly or indirectly on tubulin or microtubules. We analyzed the effects of NAP (1 fM-1 microM) on the assembly of reconstituted bovine brain microtubules in vitro and found that it did not significantly (p< 0.05) alter polymerization of either purified tubulin or of a mixture of tubulin and unfractionated microtubule-associated proteins. NAP also had no significant effect (p < 0.05) on the growing and shortening dynamics of steady-state microtubules at their plus ends, nor did it alter the polymerization or dynamics of microtubules assembled in the presence of 3-repeat or 4-repeat tau. Thus, the neuroprotective activity of NAP does not appear to involve a direct action on the polymerization or dynamics of purified tubulin or microtubules.

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