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Dev Biol. 1994 Feb;161(2):538-51.

Differential expression and tissue distribution of type I and type II neurofibromins during mouse fetal development.

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Neurogenetics Laboratory, Cedars-Sinai Research Institute, University of California, Los Angeles 90048.


Mutations in the NF1 gene may cause developmental abnormalities and the formation of a variety of tumors of neural crest origin in humans. The NF1 gene codes for a large protein, neurofibromin (nf), which is structurally and functionally related to yeast and human ras-GTPase-activating proteins (ras-GAPs). Recently, two transcripts coding for type I and type II nf with different ras-GAP activity have been identified. Since ras proteins do not appear to be significantly regulated during mouse development, we examined if differential expression of neurofibromins may provide evidence for a role of nfs in regulating ras-mediated cell proliferation and differentiation. Nfs were expressed as early as E8. At E11 a marked increase of NF1 transcripts occurred and was associated with expression of nfs in all tissues. Type I and type II nfs each showed a different time course of expression and tissue localization, with type II nf present mainly from E8 through E10, although in the heart type II nf was present at E12. In some tissues such as heart and dorsal root ganglia rapid increases and decreases of nfs were detected related to differentiation of these tissues. These results are consistent with a role of nfs in regulating ras-mediated cell proliferation and differentiation during development and support distinct functional roles for type I and type II nfs.

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