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Eur J Biochem. 1989 Mar 15;180(2):249-58.

Identification of proteins secreted from axons of embryonic dorsal-root-ganglia neurons.

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Institute of Biochemistry, University of Z├╝rich.


Secretion of proteins from the growth cone has been implicated in axon growth and synapse formation and might be involved in the transmission of a variety of axon-derived regulatory signals during neurogenesis. In order to identify axonally secreted proteins, dorsal-root-ganglia neurons from chicken embryos were cultured in a compartmentalized cell culture system that allows separate access to neuronal cell somas and axons. The proteins synthesized by the neurons were metabolically labeled by addition of [35S]methionine to the compartment containing the cell somas; the proteins released from the axons were harvested from the culture medium of the axonal compartment. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed two axonally secreted proteins with apparent molecular mass of 132-140 kDa and 54-60 kDa; they were termed axonin-1 and axonin-2, respectively. Both axonins were found to be secreted from a variety of neuronal cell cultures, but not from any of the nonneuronal cultures investigated, and hence might be neuron-specific. Virtual absence of these proteins from the axonal protein pattern suggests constitutive secretion. The information acquired on coordinates and spot morphology of these proteins in two-dimensional gel electrophoresis provides a useful assay for their purification.

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