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J Neurosci Res. 1998 Feb 15;51(4):463-72.

Subcellular localization of epitope-tagged neurotrophins in neuroendocrine cells.

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Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305, USA.


A growing body of evidence suggests that neurotrophins (NTs) play a critical role in synaptic plasticity and other activity dependent processes in the CNS. Release of these growth factors by neurons and neuroendocrine cells was recently shown to occur via the regulated secretory pathway, representing a possible mechanism for preferentially supplying NTs locally to active synapses. However, the identity and characteristics of the intracellular storage compartment for NTs undergoing stimulus-coupled secretion remains controversial. As a step towards addressing these issues we have investigated the subcellular localization of epitope-tagged nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) in neuroendocrine cells. Placement of the myc-epitope tag at the neurotrophin carboxy terminus did not affect essential properties of the NTs such as their ability to induce Trk tyrosine phosphorylation or their sorting into the regulated secretory pathway in PC12 and AtT-20 neuroendocrine cells. Epitope-tagged NTs colocalize with dense core vesicle (DCV)-markers at the light microscopic level in both cell lines investigated. Furthermore, at an EM level immunoreactivity (IR) for myc-tagged NGF was found over dense core granules (DCGs) in PC12 cells. These data provide evidence that NTs can be stored in DCVs in neuronal model cell lines and, potentially, in neurons as well.

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