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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1995 Dec 21;90(1-2):129-40.

Comparative localisation of CRYP alpha, a CAM-like tyrosine phosphatase, and NgCAM in the developing chick visual system.

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Department of Human Anatomy, University of Oxford, UK.


The avian CRYP alpha gene is expressed in the embryonic nervous system and encodes a receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase with structural similarity to neural cell adhesion molecules. To gain further insight into the role of the CRYP alpha phosphatase in neural development, this study addresses the protein's cellular distribution in the well characterised embryonic visual system. High levels of CRYP alpha protein localise in retinal axons extending from the eye to the tectum throughout the major growth periods of these nerve processes. In addition, primitive inner plexiform layer processes in the retina, tectobulbar axons, and non-retinal fibres of the tectal stratum opticum, contain large amounts of CRYP alpha. Its presence in non-fasciculated processes suggests that CRYP alpha has a role other than in fasciculation in short range fibres. In contrast to CRYP alpha, NgCAM is confined largely to axon fascicles in the retina and tectum, consistent with its demonstrated role in fasciculation of cultured neurites. In cultured retinal neurons CRYP alpha proteins reside both in neurite processes and in growth cone membranes, implicating both of these as potential functional locations for the protein. Although CRYP alpha continues to be expressed in the later embryo, the strong, early expression suggests a significant developmental role in the initial growth or guidance of nerve processes. This applies both over the longer range in the retinotectal and tectobulbar projections and over the shorter range within plexiform layers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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