G2Cdb::Gene report

Gene id
Gene symbol
Homo sapiens
neurofilament, light polypeptide
G00000568 (Mus musculus)

Databases (7)

ENSG00000104725 (Ensembl human gene)
4747 (Entrez Gene)
118 (G2Cdb plasticity & disease)
NEFL (GeneCards)
162280 (OMIM)
Marker Symbol
HGNC:7739 (HGNC)
Protein Sequence
P07196 (UniProt)

Synonyms (4)

  • CMT1F
  • CMT2E
  • NF68
  • NFL

Literature (70)

Pubmed - other

  • Laryngeal neuropathy of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: further observations and novel mutations associated with vocal fold paresis.

    Benson B, Sulica L, Guss J and Blitzer A

    New York Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders, St. Luke's Roosevelt Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.

    To describe and define laryngeal neuropathy in Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease.

    Retrospective record review from a university laryngology practice.

    Results: Four adult CMT patients presented with laryngeal symptoms. Three patients exhibited bilateral vocal fold palsy, in each case with more severe hypomobility on the left. One case exhibited an isolated left vocal fold palsy. All patients complained of hoarseness and stridor, three had dyspnea, two patients had dysphagia, and one had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). One patient has required airway surgery to date. Genetic testing revealed known sequence alterations in one case and sequence alterations previously not associated with laryngeal dysfunction in two cases. One case was familial and two were sporadic; information is not available in a fourth.

    Conclusions: The clinical course of the cases suggests slowly progressive neuropathy that appears to be nerve length dependent. The lack of severe respiratory distress despite dense bilateral paresis is consistent with existing reports and with the reported low rate of tracheostomy in adults with laryngeal manifestations of CMT. Genetic testing does not currently inform expectations or management of laryngeal disease. Dyspnea, dysphagia, and OSA symptoms in patients with CMT require careful laryngologic evaluation.

    The Laryngoscope 2010;120;2;291-6

  • A novel recessive Nefl mutation causes a severe, early-onset axonal neuropathy.

    Yum SW, Zhang J, Mo K, Li J and Scherer SS

    Section of Neurology, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 19134, USA. sabrina.yum@drexelmed.edu

    Objective: To report the first cases of a homozygous recessive mutation in NEFL, the gene that encodes the light subunit of neurofilaments.

    Methods: Clinical and electrophysiologic data were evaluated, and a sural nerve biopsy from one affected child was examined by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. The ability of the mutant protein to form filaments was characterized in an established cell culture system.

    Results: Four of five siblings developed of a severe, progressive neuropathy beginning in early childhood. Serial nerve conduction studies showed progressively reduced amplitudes with age and pronounced slowing at all ages. Visual-evoked responses were slowed in three children, indicating that central nervous system axons were subclinically involved. All four affected children were homozygous for a nonsense mutation at glutamate 210 (E210X) in the NEFL gene; both parents were heterozygous carriers. A sural nerve biopsy from an affected patient showed markedly reduced numbers of myelinated axons; the remaining myelinated axons were small and lacked intermediate filaments. The E210X mutant protein did not form an intermediate filament network and did not interfere with the filament formation by wild-type human light subunit of neurofilaments in SW-13 vim(-) cells.

    Interpretation: This is the first demonstration of a recessive NEFL mutation, which appears to cause a simple loss of function, resulting in a severe, early-onset axonal neuropathy with unique features. These results confirm that neurofilaments are the main determinant of axonal caliber and conduction velocity, and demonstrate for the first time that neurofilaments are required for the maintenance of myelinated peripheral nervous system axons.

    Funded by: NIDCD NIH HHS: K08 DC005394, KO8 DC005394; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS043174, R01 NS043174-07, R01 NS43174

    Annals of neurology 2009;66;6;759-70

  • Comparative study of CSF neurofilaments in HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis and other neurological disorders.

    Alberti C, Gonzalez J, Maldonado H, Medina F, Barriga A, García L, Kettlun A, Collados L, Puente J, Cartier L and Valenzuela M

    Bioquimica y Biologia Molecular, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile .

    HTLV-1-associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP) is a progressive CNS disease leading to corticospinal tract degeneration. Various degenerative diseases have increased neurofilament subunit concentration in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), frequently showing hyperphosphorylation in neurofilaments. The aim of this study was to determine if there were elevated concentrations of neurofilament light subunit (NFL) and phosphorylated forms of neurofilament heavy subunit (PNFH) in HAM/TSP CSF. NF concentrations were compared with those of controls and patients with neurodegenerative diseases associated with other retroviruses (HIV-associated dementia, HAD) and a form of prion disease (familiar Creutzfeldt-Jakob, FCJD). Western blotting of CSF with antibodies against NFL showed two immunoreactive bands of 66 and 59 kDa, the latter probably corresponding to a partially degraded NFL form. The concentration of the 59-kDa form was not different in HAM/TSP compared with controls, but it was significantly increased in HAD and FCJD groups. ELISA assay for PNFH did not show differences among HAM/TSP, HAD, and control groups, while PNFH concentration was significantly elevated in FCJD. Our results show that CSF NFL and PNFH are not molecular markers of axonal damage for HAM/TSP probably due to the slow progression of this disease. NFL phosphorylation studies required previous immunoprecipitation from CSF for mass spectrometric analysis. This preliminary analysis indicated phosphorylation at S472 and at some other residues.

    AIDS research and human retroviruses 2009;25;8;803-9

  • Proteomic analysis of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex indicates the involvement of cytoskeleton, oligodendrocyte, energy metabolism and new potential markers in schizophrenia.

    Martins-de-Souza D, Gattaz WF, Schmitt A, Maccarrone G, Hunyadi-Gulyás E, Eberlin MN, Souza GH, Marangoni S, Novello JC, Turck CW and Dias-Neto E

    Laboratório de Neurociências, Instituto de Psiquiatria, Faculdade de Medicina da USP, Rua Dr. Ovídio Pires de Campos, SP, Brazil. martins@mpipsykl.mpg.de

    Schizophrenia is likely to be a consequence of serial alterations in a number of genes that, together with environmental factors, will lead to the establishment of the illness. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (Brodmann's Area 46) is implicated in schizophrenia and executes high functions such as working memory, differentiation of conflicting thoughts, determination of right and wrong concepts, correct social behavior and personality expression. We performed a comparative proteome analysis using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis of pools from 9 schizophrenia and 7 healthy control patients' dorsolateral prefrontal cortex aiming to identify, by mass spectrometry, alterations in protein expression that could be related to the disease. In schizophrenia-derived samples, our analysis revealed 10 downregulated and 14 upregulated proteins. These included alterations previously implicated in schizophrenia, such as oligodendrocyte-related proteins (myelin basic protein and transferrin), as well as malate dehydrogenase, aconitase, ATP synthase subunits and cytoskeleton-related proteins. Also, six new putative disease markers were identified, including energy metabolism, cytoskeleton and cell signaling proteins. Our data not only reinforces the involvement of proteins previously implicated in schizophrenia, but also suggests new markers, providing further information to foster the comprehension of this important disease.

    Journal of psychiatric research 2009;43;11;978-86

  • The neurofilament light chain gene (NEFL) mutation Pro22Ser can be associated with mixed axonal and demyelinating neuropathy.

    Bhagavati S, Maccabee PJ and Xu W

    Department of Neurology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA. sbhagavati@downstate.edu

    We report the detailed clinical, electrophysiological and molecular analysis of a patient with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. DNA sequencing of the coding sequences of the neurofilament light chain polypeptide (NEFL) gene revealed a c.64C>T heterozygous, missense mutation resulting in a Pro22Ser amino acid substitution. Clinical and electrophysiological studies revealed a mixed axonal and demyelinating neuropathy, with widespread demyelination involving both proximal and distal nerve segments. Mutations at this site in the NEFL gene have been previously linked to an axonal neuropathy or distal nerve demyelination. Our results emphasize the complexity of genotype-phenotype correlations in CMT and underline the possible importance of host factors and gene interactions in the development of clinical phenotypes.

    Journal of clinical neuroscience : official journal of the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia 2009;16;6;830-1

  • Alterations in oligodendrocyte proteins, calcium homeostasis and new potential markers in schizophrenia anterior temporal lobe are revealed by shotgun proteome analysis.

    Martins-de-Souza D, Gattaz WF, Schmitt A, Rewerts C, Marangoni S, Novello JC, Maccarrone G, Turck CW and Dias-Neto E

    Laboratório de Neurociências, Faculdade de Medicina da USP, Instituto de Psiquiatria, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua Dr. Ovídio Pires de Campos, No 785, s/n Consolação, São Paulo, SP, CEP 05403-010, Brazil. danms90@gmail.com

    Global proteomic analysis of post-mortem anterior temporal lobe samples from schizophrenia patients and non-schizophrenia individuals was performed using stable isotope labeling and shotgun proteomics. Our analysis resulted in the identification of 479 proteins, 37 of which showed statistically significant differential expression. Pathways affected by differential protein expression include transport, signal transduction, energy pathways, cell growth and maintenance and protein metabolism. The collection of protein alterations identified here reinforces the importance of myelin/oligodendrocyte and calcium homeostasis in schizophrenia, and reveals a number of new potential markers that may contribute to the understanding of the pathogenesis of this complex disease.

    Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996) 2009;116;3;275-89

  • Neurofilament light chain polypeptide gene mutations in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease: nonsense mutation probably causes a recessive phenotype.

    Abe A, Numakura C, Saito K, Koide H, Oka N, Honma A, Kishikawa Y and Hayasaka K

    Department of Pediatrics, Yamagata University School of Medicine, Yamagata, Japan.

    The neurofilament light chain polypeptide (NEFL) forms the major intermediate filament in neurons and axons. NEFL mutation is a cause of axonal or demyelinating forms of dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). We investigated NEFL in 223 Japanese CMT patients who were negative for PMP22, MPZ, GJB1, LITAF, EGR2, GDAP1, MTMR2 and PRX in the demyelinating form and negative for MFN2, MPZ, GJB1, HSP27, HSP22 and GARS in the axonal form. We detected four heterozygous missense mutations--Pro8Leu, Glu90Lys, Asn98Ser and Glu396Lys--in five unrelated patients and a homozygous nonsense mutation, Glu140Stop, in one other patient. All patients had mildly to moderately delayed nerve conduction velocities, possibly caused by a loss of large diameter fibers. This is the first report of a homozygous nonsense mutation of NEFL. Results of our study show that nonsense NEFL mutations probably cause a recessive phenotype, in contrast to missense mutations, which cause a dominant phenotype.

    Journal of human genetics 2009;54;2;94-7

  • The effect of rod domain A148V mutation of neurofilament light chain on filament formation.

    Lee IB, Kim SK, Chung SH, Kim H, Kwon TK, Min do S and Chang JS

    Department of Life Science, College of Natural Science, Daejin University, Pocheon, Korea.

    Neurofilaments (NFs) are neuronal intermediate filaments composed of light (NF-L), middle (NF-M), and heavy (NF-H) subunits. NF-L self-assembles into a "core" filament with which NF-M or NF-H co-assembles to form the neuronal intermediate filament. Recent reports show that point mutations of the NF-L gene result in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). However, the most recently described rod domain mutant of human NF-L (A148V) has not been characterized in cellular level. We cloned human NF-L and used it to engineer the A148V. In phenotypic analysis using SW13 cells, A148V mutation completely abolished filament formation despite of presence of NF-M. Moreover, A148V mutation reduced the levels of in vitro self-assembly using GST-NF-L (H/R) fusion protein whereas control (A296T) mutant did not affect the filament formation. These results suggest that alanine at position 148 is essentially required for NF-L self-assembly leading to subsequent filament formation in neuronal cells.

    BMB reports 2008;41;12;868-74

  • Auditory nerve is affected in one of two different point mutations of the neurofilament light gene.

    Butinar D, Starr A, Zidar J, Koutsou P and Christodoulou K

    Institute of Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

    Objective: To define auditory nerve and cochlear functions in two families with autosomal dominant axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT).

    Methods: Affected members in two families with different point mutations of NF-L gene were screened with auditory brainstem responses (ABRs). Those with abnormal ABRs were further investigated with clinical, neurophysiological and audiological procedures. The point mutations of NF-L gene involved were Glu397Lys in 8 affected members of the family with AN, and Pro22Ser in 9 affected members of the family without AN.

    Results: ABRs and stapedial muscle reflexes were absent or abnormal in affected members of only one family consistent with auditory neuropathy (AN). In them, audiograms, otoacoustic emissions, and speech comprehension were normal. Absent or abnormal ABRs were consistent with slowing of conduction along auditory nerve and/or brainstem auditory pathway. Wave I when present was of normal latency.

    Conclusions: Auditory nerve involvement in the presence of normal cochlear outer hair cell activity is asymptomatic in one of two families with CMT disorder with different point mutations of the NF-L gene. The nerve disorder is consistent with altered synchrony and slowed conduction.

    Significance: The absence of "deafness" may reflect the ability of central mechanisms to compensate for the slowly developing auditory nerve abnormalities.

    Funded by: NIDCD NIH HHS: DC-02168, R01 DC002618-09

    Clinical neurophysiology : official journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2008;119;2;367-75

  • NEFL Pro22Arg mutation in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1.

    Shin JS, Chung KW, Cho SY, Yun J, Hwang SJ, Kang SH, Cho EM, Kim SM and Choi BO

    Department of Neurology and Ewha Medical Research Center, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, 158-710, South Korea.

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is classified into demyelinating neuropathy (CMT1) and axonal neuropathy (CMT2). Mutations in the neurofilament light chain polypeptide (NEFL) gene are present in CMT2E and CMT1F neuropathies. Two types of Pro22 mutations have been previously reported: Pro22Ser in CMT2E with giant axons, and Pro22Thr in CMT1F. In this study, we identified another Pro22 mutation, Pro22Arg, in a Korean CMT1 family. An investigation to identify the clinical and pathological characteristics of the Pro22Arg revealed that it is associated with demyelinating neuropathy features in CMT1F. Histopathological findings showed onion bulb formations but no giant axons. It appears that the Pro22 mutations may influence not only the Thr-Pro phosphorylation site by proline-directed protein kinases but also other structural alteration of the NEFL protein in a different way.

    Journal of human genetics 2008;53;10;936-40

  • Cerebrospinal fluid neurofilament light levels in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: impact of SOD1 genotype.

    Zetterberg H, Jacobsson J, Rosengren L, Blennow K and Andersen PM

    Department of Neurochemistry and Psychiatry, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden. henrik.zetterberg@clinchem.gu.se

    Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative syndrome with familial and sporadic forms. Most ALS-associated mutations are found in the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene. We conducted a study including 60 sporadic and 19 familial ALS patients, 206 reference patients with other neurological disorders and 40 age- and sex-matched healthy controls to test the hypothesis that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of neurofilament light (NF-L) protein, a marker of axonal degeneration, might provide diagnostic and prognostic information on the disease. All ALS patients were screened for SOD1 mutations. Ten of the familial and five of the sporadic cases carried SOD1 mutations. NF-L concentration [median (range)] was strongly elevated in ALS [2110 (255-10 800) ng/l] compared with reference patients and healthy controls [277 (<125-15 506) and 175 (<125-710) ng/l, respectively, P < 0.001] and correlated inversely with disease duration (Spearman R = -0.518, P = 0.001). NF-L levels were lower in SOD1 mutation-associated ALS compared with SOD1 wild-type (wt) ALS (P = 0.03). In conclusion, CSF NF-L levels may provide both diagnostic and prognostic information, particularly in SOD1 wt ALS.

    European journal of neurology 2007;14;12;1329-33

  • Antiretroviral treatment reduces increased CSF neurofilament protein (NFL) in HIV-1 infection.

    Mellgren A, Price RW, Hagberg L, Rosengren L, Brew BJ and Gisslén M

    Clinic of Infectious Diseases, Södra Alvsborgs Sjukhus, Borås, Sweden. asa_mellgren@yahoo.com

    Objective: Increased levels of the light-chain neurofilament protein (NFL) in CSF provide a marker of CNS injury in several neurodegenerative disorders and have been reported in the AIDS dementia complex (ADC). We examined the effects of highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) on CSF NFL in HIV-1-infected subjects with and without ADC who underwent repeated lumbar punctures (LPs).

    Method: NFL was measured by ELISA (normal reference value < 250 ng/L) in archived CSF samples from 53 patients who had undergone LPs before and after initiation of HAART.

    Results: Twenty-one of the subjects had increased CSF NFL at baseline, with a median level of 780 ng/L and an intraquartile range (IQR) of 480 to 7300. After 3 months of treatment, NFL concentrations had fallen to normal in 48% (10/21), and the median decreased to 340 ng/L (IQR < 250 to 4070) (p < 0.001), whereas at 1 year, only 4 of 16 of the 21 subjects observed for this length still had elevated NFL levels. Thirty-two subjects had normal NFL at baseline, and all but one remained normal at follow-up. These effects on CSF NFL were seen in association with clinical improvement in ADC patients, decreases in plasma and CSF HIV-1 RNA and CSF neopterin, and increases in blood CD4 T cell counts.

    Conclusion: HAART seems to halt the neurodegenerative process(es) caused by HIV-1, as shown by the significant decrease in CSF NFL after treatment initiation. CSF NFL may serve as a useful marker in monitoring CNS injury in HIV-1 infection and in evaluating CNS efficacy of antiretroviral therapy.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: MO1-RR00083; NIMH NIH HHS: R01 MH62701; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS043103, R01 NS37660

    Neurology 2007;69;15;1536-41

  • Clinical and electrophysiological features in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease with mutations in the NEFL gene.

    Miltenberger-Miltenyi G, Janecke AR, Wanschitz JV, Timmerman V, Windpassinger C, Auer-Grumbach M and Löscher WN

    Section of Clinical Genetics, Innsbruck Medical University, Anichstrasse 35, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria.

    Background: To date, 13 different neurofilament light-chain polypeptide gene (NEFL) mutations have been identified in 55 patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) from 16 families. NEFL mutations were found to be associated with axonal and demyelinating variants of CMT.

    Objectives: To describe the clinical features of 11 patients with CMT and NEFL mutations and to explore possible genotype-phenotype correlations.

    Design: Standardized neuromuscular and nerve conduction studies were performed, and the coding regions of the peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22), myelin protein zero (MPZ), gap junction beta-1 protein (GJB1), and NEFL genes were analyzed by direct DNA sequencing.

    Setting: Two university hospitals in Austria (referral centers for neuromuscular disorders). Patients Eleven patients with CMT and NEFL mutations. Main Outcome Measure We genotyped NEFL in all of the patients and healthy relatives and correlated the genotype with the phenotype.

    Results: A novel NEFL mutation (p.L93P) was detected in 1 family with 4 affected individuals exhibiting a severe CMT phenotype. Nerve conduction velocities were intermediately slowed to a range of 35 to 39 m/s. In a second family and in a sporadic patient, a p.P8R mutation was identified with intermediate and severe nerve conduction slowing.

    Conclusion: The results argue against an obvious genotype-phenotype correlation regarding disease onset, degree of muscle weakness, and nerve conduction slowing caused by NEFL mutations.

    Archives of neurology 2007;64;7;966-70

  • Conditional NF-L transgene expression in mice for in vivo analysis of turnover and transport rate of neurofilaments.

    Millecamps S, Gowing G, Corti O, Mallet J and Julien JP

    Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l'Université Laval, Department of Anatomy and Physiology of Laval University, Quebec, Canada.

    We generated mice with doxycycline control of a human neurofilament light (NF-L) transgene in the context of the absence (tTA;hNF-L;NF-L(-/-)) or presence (tTA;hNF-L;NF-L(+/-)) of endogenous mouse NF-L proteins. Doxycycline treatment caused the rapid disappearance of human NF-L (hNF-L) mRNA in tTA;hNF-L mice, but the hNF-L proteins remained with a half-life of 3 weeks in the brain. In the sciatic nerve, the disappearance of hNF-L proteins after doxycycline treatment occurred in synchrony along the sciatic nerve, suggesting a proteolysis of NF proteins along the entire axon. The presence of permanent NF network in tTA;hNF-L;NF-L(+/-) mice further stabilized and extended longevity of hNF-L proteins by several months. Surprisingly, after cessation of doxycycline treatment, there was no evidence of leading front of newly synthesized hNF-L proteins migrating into sciatic nerve axons devoid of NF structures. The hNF-L proteins detected at weekly intervals reappeared and accumulated in synchrony at similar rate along nerve segments, a phenomenon consistent with a fast hNF-L transport into axons. We estimated the hNF-L transport rate to be of approximately 10 mm/d in axons devoid of NF structures based on the use of an adenovirus encoding tet-responsive transcriptional activator to transactivate the hNF-L transgene in hypoglossal motor neurons. These results provide in vivo evidence that the stationary NF network in axons is a key determinant of half-life and transport rate of NF proteins.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 2007;27;18;4947-56

  • CSF neurofilament light chain and tau differentiate multiple system atrophy from Parkinson's disease.

    Abdo WF, Bloem BR, Van Geel WJ, Esselink RA and Verbeek MM

    Department of Neurology, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, The Netherlands. f.abdo@neuro.umcn.nl

    Background: In early disease stages it can be clinically difficult to differentiate idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) from patients with multiple system atrophy predominated by parkinsonism (MSA-P).

    Methods: In CSF of 31 patients with IPD, 19 patients with MSA-P, we analyzed tau, neurofilament light chain (NFL) and heavy chain (NFHp35) and the noradrenergic metabolite 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethyleneglycol (MHPG).

    Results: CSF levels of NFL, NFHp35, and tau were significantly increased in MSA-P (all p<0.0001), whereas, MHPG levels were significantly decreased in MSA-P (p<0.0001). Optimal discriminative cut-off values for the differentiation between MSA-P and IPD were calculated resulting in high sensitivity (76-94%) and specificity (83-97%) levels. Multivariate logistic regression resulted in the combination of NFL and tau as independent contributors in differentiating between MSA-P and IPD.

    Discussion: Higher CSF levels of axonal biomarkers could reflect advanced axonal degeneration in MSA-P. Differentiating MSA-P from IPD could be accurately possible with CSF analysis of a combination of axonal and neurotransmitter biomarkers.

    Neurobiology of aging 2007;28;5;742-7

  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E, a disorder of the cytoskeleton.

    Fabrizi GM, Cavallaro T, Angiari C, Cabrini I, Taioli F, Malerba G, Bertolasi L and Rizzuto N

    Section of Clinical Neurology, Department of Neurological and Visual Sciences, University of Verona, Italy. gianmaria.fabrizi@univr.it

    The neurofilament light chain (NF-L) is a major constituent of intermediate filaments and plays a pivotal function in the assembly and maintenance of axonal cytoskeleton. Mutations in the NF-L gene (NEFL) cause autosomal dominant neuropathies that are classified either as axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) type 2E (CMT2E) or demyelinating CMT type 1F (CMT1F). The pathophysiological bases of the disorder(s) are elusive. We performed a mutational analysis of NEFL in a series of 177 index cases with CMT and without mutations in the genes for peripheral myelin protein zero (MPZ), peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) and connexin 32 (GJB1); the motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) at the median nerve was below 38 m/s in 76 cases and above 38 m/s in 101. We identified five new pedigrees with four mutations in the head and rod domains of NF-L, including a novel Leu268Pro substitution and a novel del322Cys_326Asn deletion. Several examined affected members exhibited marked variability in the severity of disease and age at onset. Nerve conduction alterations were consistent with an axonal neuropathy often associated with demyelinating features, such as prolonged distal latencies (DL). Pathological examination of sural nerve biopsies in the probands detected in four cases a chronic axonal neuropathy dominated by focal accumulations of NF with axonal swellings (giant axons) and significant secondary demyelination; in the fifth case no NFs accumulations were evident but many myelinated fibres consisted exclusively of microtubules with few or absent NF. The pathological phenotype correlated with the pattern of nerve conduction alterations and indicated that NEFL mutations cause a profound alteration of the cytoskeleton possibly related to defective targeting of NF.

    Funded by: Telethon: GUP04009

    Brain : a journal of neurology 2007;130;Pt 2;394-403

  • CSF neurofilaments in frontotemporal dementia compared with early onset Alzheimer's disease and controls.

    Pijnenburg YA, Janssen JC, Schoonenboom NS, Petzold A, Mulder C, Stigbrand T, Norgren N, Heijst H, Hack CE, Scheltens P and Teunissen CE

    Department of Neurology, Alzheimer Center, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Chelsea and Westminster, Brompton and Charing Cross Hospitals, London, UK. y.pijnenburg@vumc.nl

    Background: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is pathologically heterogeneous, sometimes revealing intraneuronal inclusions of neurofilaments. We therefore measured CSF neurofilament profiles in patients with FTD, patients with early onset Alzheimer's disease (EAD) and healthy control subjects to explore the discriminative potential of CSF neurofilaments compared with the existing CSF biomarkers amyloid-beta(1-42), tau and tau phosphorylated at threonine-181.

    Methods: CSF levels of light chain, heavy chain and hyperphosphorylated heavy chain neurofilaments (NfL, t-NfH and P-NfH) were compared between 17 subjects with FTD, 20 with EAD and 25 cognitively healthy controls.

    Results: A subgroup of FTD patients had remarkably high CSF levels of both NfL and NfH. The degree of NfH phosphorylation was increased in FTD compared to both other groups. The levels of CSF NfL were significantly higher in EAD compared to controls.

    Conclusion: Differences in CSF biomarker profiles might reflect differential involvement of neurofilaments and tau in FTD and EAD. The subgroup of FTD patients with high CSF neurofilament levels may have a different neuropathological substrate and future studies addressing this specific issue are needed.

    Dementia and geriatric cognitive disorders 2007;23;4;225-30

  • Is a novel I214M substitution in the NEFL gene a cause of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease? Functional analysis using cell culture models.

    Kabzińska D, Perez-Olle R, Goryunov D, Drac H, Ryniewicz B, Hausmanowa-Petrusewicz I, Kochański A and Liem RK

    Neuromuscular Unit, Mossakowski Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.

    Recent studies have shown that mutations in neurofilament light subunit gene (NEFL) cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. Since the first description of the Gln333Pro mutation in the NEFL gene, 10 pathogenic mutations in the NEFL gene have been reported in patients affected with CMT disease. We report a novel I214M amino acid substitution in the NEFL gene in two unrelated patients affected with CMT. Because the I214M amino acid substitution in the NEFL protein was not detected in a CMT affected brother of the proband, its pathogenic effect became unclear. In order to determine whether this amino acid substitution is a benign polymorphism or causative of the disease, we performed a functional analysis of the mutant I214M neurofilament protein (NFL). Transfections of the mutant protein in cultured cells revealed an increased tendency to form highly compacted filamentous structures but no other alterations of neurofilament assembly or transport were observed. Furthermore, the sibling of one of the patients was also affected with CMT but did not have the I214M substitution. These data suggest that this I214M substitution in the NEFL gene was not a direct cause of the disease but could be a polymorphism or possibly a modifier of the CMT phenotype.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS15182

    Journal of the peripheral nervous system : JPNS 2006;11;3;225-31

  • Aggregate formation and phosphorylation of neurofilament-L Pro22 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease mutants.

    Sasaki T, Gotow T, Shiozaki M, Sakaue F, Saito T, Julien JP, Uchiyama Y and Hisanaga S

    Nathan Kline Institute, New York University School of Medicine, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the most common inherited peripheral nerve disorder. The causative gene for axonal type CMT2E has been identified as neurofilament light (NF-L) chain. Using cultured cells and in vitro assays, we analyzed the filament formation ability of Pro22 CMT mutant proteins of NF-L, P22S and P22T. NF-L Pro22 mutant proteins formed large aggregates in SW13- cells and cortical neurons and assembled into short twisty threads thinner than 10 nm filaments in vitro. Those threads associated with each other at their ends and entangled into large aggregates, also abnormalities, were detected at steps in oligomer formation. Pro22 mutations abolished Thr21 phosphorylation by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 and external signal regulated kinase, which suppressed filament assembly, but phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA) inhibited aggregate formation in vitro and alleviated aggregates in cortical neurons. These results indicate that the Pro22 CMT mutation induces abnormal filament aggregates by disrupting proper oligomer formation and the aggregates are mitigated by phosphorylation with PKA, which makes it a viable target for the development for therapeutics.

    Human molecular genetics 2006;15;6;943-52

  • Diversification of transcriptional modulation: large-scale identification and characterization of putative alternative promoters of human genes.

    Kimura K, Wakamatsu A, Suzuki Y, Ota T, Nishikawa T, Yamashita R, Yamamoto J, Sekine M, Tsuritani K, Wakaguri H, Ishii S, Sugiyama T, Saito K, Isono Y, Irie R, Kushida N, Yoneyama T, Otsuka R, Kanda K, Yokoi T, Kondo H, Wagatsuma M, Murakawa K, Ishida S, Ishibashi T, Takahashi-Fujii A, Tanase T, Nagai K, Kikuchi H, Nakai K, Isogai T and Sugano S

    Life Science Research Laboratory, Central Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd., Kokubunji, Tokyo, 185-8601, Japan.

    By analyzing 1,780,295 5'-end sequences of human full-length cDNAs derived from 164 kinds of oligo-cap cDNA libraries, we identified 269,774 independent positions of transcriptional start sites (TSSs) for 14,628 human RefSeq genes. These TSSs were clustered into 30,964 clusters that were separated from each other by more than 500 bp and thus are very likely to constitute mutually distinct alternative promoters. To our surprise, at least 7674 (52%) human RefSeq genes were subject to regulation by putative alternative promoters (PAPs). On average, there were 3.1 PAPs per gene, with the composition of one CpG-island-containing promoter per 2.6 CpG-less promoters. In 17% of the PAP-containing loci, tissue-specific use of the PAPs was observed. The richest tissue sources of the tissue-specific PAPs were testis and brain. It was also intriguing that the PAP-containing promoters were enriched in the genes encoding signal transduction-related proteins and were rarer in the genes encoding extracellular proteins, possibly reflecting the varied functional requirement for and the restricted expression of those categories of genes, respectively. The patterns of the first exons were highly diverse as well. On average, there were 7.7 different splicing types of first exons per locus partly produced by the PAPs, suggesting that a wide variety of transcripts can be achieved by this mechanism. Our findings suggest that use of alternate promoters and consequent alternative use of first exons should play a pivotal role in generating the complexity required for the highly elaborated molecular systems in humans.

    Genome research 2006;16;1;55-65

  • Mutations in neurofilament genes are not a significant primary cause of non-SOD1-mediated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    Garcia ML, Singleton AB, Hernandez D, Ward CM, Evey C, Sapp PA, Hardy J, Brown RH and Cleveland DW

    Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and Department of Neurosciences, University of California at San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, CMM-E/Room 3072, La Jolla, CA 92093-0670, USA.

    While 1 to 2% of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by mutations in the SOD1 gene, the basis of the remaining instances of inherited disease is unknown. Neuropathology, mouse modeling, and human genetics have implicated neurofilaments in the pathogenesis of motor neuron diseases such as ALS and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). A systematic analysis of the coding region and intron-exon boundaries of all three neurofilament genes is now reported from DNA samples derived from more than 200 non-SOD1 linked familial and sporadic ALS patients, along with >400 non-disease control individuals. Rare variants within each of the three neurofilament subunits that are predicted to affect neurofilament assembly properties were identified at higher frequency in non-SOD1 mutant ALS samples. However, none could be unambiguously linked to dominantly inherited disease. Thus, mutations in neurofilaments are possible risk factors that may contribute to pathogenesis in ALS in conjunction with one or more additional genetic or environmental factors, but are not significant primary causes of ALS.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: R37 NS027036

    Neurobiology of disease 2006;21;1;102-9

  • A human protein-protein interaction network: a resource for annotating the proteome.

    Stelzl U, Worm U, Lalowski M, Haenig C, Brembeck FH, Goehler H, Stroedicke M, Zenkner M, Schoenherr A, Koeppen S, Timm J, Mintzlaff S, Abraham C, Bock N, Kietzmann S, Goedde A, Toksöz E, Droege A, Krobitsch S, Korn B, Birchmeier W, Lehrach H and Wanker EE

    Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, 13092 Berlin-Buch, Germany.

    Protein-protein interaction maps provide a valuable framework for a better understanding of the functional organization of the proteome. To detect interacting pairs of human proteins systematically, a protein matrix of 4456 baits and 5632 preys was screened by automated yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) interaction mating. We identified 3186 mostly novel interactions among 1705 proteins, resulting in a large, highly connected network. Independent pull-down and co-immunoprecipitation assays validated the overall quality of the Y2H interactions. Using topological and GO criteria, a scoring system was developed to define 911 high-confidence interactions among 401 proteins. Furthermore, the network was searched for interactions linking uncharacterized gene products and human disease proteins to regulatory cellular pathways. Two novel Axin-1 interactions were validated experimentally, characterizing ANP32A and CRMP1 as modulators of Wnt signaling. Systematic human protein interaction screens can lead to a more comprehensive understanding of protein function and cellular processes.

    Cell 2005;122;6;957-68

  • Mutations in the neurofilament light gene linked to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease cause defects in transport.

    Pérez-Ollé R, López-Toledano MA, Goryunov D, Cabrera-Poch N, Stefanis L, Brown K and Liem RK

    Department of Pathology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.

    Neurofilament light gene mutations have been linked to a subset of patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, the most common inherited motor and sensory neuropathy. We have previously shown that Charcot-Marie-Tooth-linked mutant neurofilament light assembles abnormally in non-neuronal cells. In this study, we have characterized the effects of expression of mutant neurofilament light proteins on axonal transport in a neuronal cell culture model. We demonstrated that the Charcot-Marie-Tooth-linked neurofilament light mutations: (i) affect the axonal transport of mutant neurofilaments; (ii) have a dominant-negative effect on the transport of wild-type neurofilaments; (iii) affect the transport of mitochondria and the anterograde axonal transport marker human amyloid precursor protein; (iv) result in alterations of retrograde axonal transport and (v) cause fragmentation of the Golgi apparatus. Increased neuritic degeneration was observed in neuronal cells overexpressing neurofilament light mutants. Our results suggest that these generalized axonal transport defects could be responsible for the neuropathy in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG00189; NINDS NIH HHS: NS15182

    Journal of neurochemistry 2005;93;4;861-74

  • A novel out-of-frame mutation in the neurofilament light chain gene (NEFL) does not result in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E.

    Andrigo C, Boito C, Prandini P, Mostacciuolo ML, Siciliano G, Angelini C and Pegoraro E

    Funded by: Telethon: GTF02009

    Neurogenetics 2005;6;1;49-50

  • Neurofilament-light increases the cell surface expression of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor and prevents its ubiquitination.

    Ratnam J and Teichberg VI

    Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

    NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) subtype of glutamate receptors are core components of dendritic spine postsynaptic densities (PSDs), in which they are anchored via their carboxy-terminal tails to cytoskeletal proteins. In this study, we examined the role of the neuronal intermediate filament protein, neurofilament-light (NF-L), also a component of the PSD, in the regulation of NMDA receptor (NMDAR) expression and function in a heterologous system. Coexpression of NF-L with NR1 or NR2B subunits of the NMDAR in HEK293 (human embryonic kidney 293) cells did not result in surface expression as measured by surface biotinylation and cell ELISAs, whereas the combined expression of the three elements resulted in a 20% increase in the surface abundance of NR1, along with a concomitant increase in NMDAR-mediated cytotoxicity. Investigating the origin of this increase, we found that the NR1 subunits are ubiquitinated in HEK293 cells, and that the coexpression of NF-L antagonizes this process. These results suggest a possible means of stabilization of NR1 via its association with NF-L.

    Journal of neurochemistry 2005;92;4;878-85

  • The status, quality, and expansion of the NIH full-length cDNA project: the Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC).

    Gerhard DS, Wagner L, Feingold EA, Shenmen CM, Grouse LH, Schuler G, Klein SL, Old S, Rasooly R, Good P, Guyer M, Peck AM, Derge JG, Lipman D, Collins FS, Jang W, Sherry S, Feolo M, Misquitta L, Lee E, Rotmistrovsky K, Greenhut SF, Schaefer CF, Buetow K, Bonner TI, Haussler D, Kent J, Kiekhaus M, Furey T, Brent M, Prange C, Schreiber K, Shapiro N, Bhat NK, Hopkins RF, Hsie F, Driscoll T, Soares MB, Casavant TL, Scheetz TE, Brown-stein MJ, Usdin TB, Toshiyuki S, Carninci P, Piao Y, Dudekula DB, Ko MS, Kawakami K, Suzuki Y, Sugano S, Gruber CE, Smith MR, Simmons B, Moore T, Waterman R, Johnson SL, Ruan Y, Wei CL, Mathavan S, Gunaratne PH, Wu J, Garcia AM, Hulyk SW, Fuh E, Yuan Y, Sneed A, Kowis C, Hodgson A, Muzny DM, McPherson J, Gibbs RA, Fahey J, Helton E, Ketteman M, Madan A, Rodrigues S, Sanchez A, Whiting M, Madari A, Young AC, Wetherby KD, Granite SJ, Kwong PN, Brinkley CP, Pearson RL, Bouffard GG, Blakesly RW, Green ED, Dickson MC, Rodriguez AC, Grimwood J, Schmutz J, Myers RM, Butterfield YS, Griffith M, Griffith OL, Krzywinski MI, Liao N, Morin R, Morrin R, Palmquist D, Petrescu AS, Skalska U, Smailus DE, Stott JM, Schnerch A, Schein JE, Jones SJ, Holt RA, Baross A, Marra MA, Clifton S, Makowski KA, Bosak S, Malek J and MGC Project Team

    The National Institutes of Health's Mammalian Gene Collection (MGC) project was designed to generate and sequence a publicly accessible cDNA resource containing a complete open reading frame (ORF) for every human and mouse gene. The project initially used a random strategy to select clones from a large number of cDNA libraries from diverse tissues. Candidate clones were chosen based on 5'-EST sequences, and then fully sequenced to high accuracy and analyzed by algorithms developed for this project. Currently, more than 11,000 human and 10,000 mouse genes are represented in MGC by at least one clone with a full ORF. The random selection approach is now reaching a saturation point, and a transition to protocols targeted at the missing transcripts is now required to complete the mouse and human collections. Comparison of the sequence of the MGC clones to reference genome sequences reveals that most cDNA clones are of very high sequence quality, although it is likely that some cDNAs may carry missense variants as a consequence of experimental artifact, such as PCR, cloning, or reverse transcriptase errors. Recently, a rat cDNA component was added to the project, and ongoing frog (Xenopus) and zebrafish (Danio) cDNA projects were expanded to take advantage of the high-throughput MGC pipeline.

    Funded by: PHS HHS: N01-C0-12400

    Genome research 2004;14;10B;2121-7

  • A protein interaction network links GIT1, an enhancer of huntingtin aggregation, to Huntington's disease.

    Goehler H, Lalowski M, Stelzl U, Waelter S, Stroedicke M, Worm U, Droege A, Lindenberg KS, Knoblich M, Haenig C, Herbst M, Suopanki J, Scherzinger E, Abraham C, Bauer B, Hasenbank R, Fritzsche A, Ludewig AH, Büssow K, Buessow K, Coleman SH, Gutekunst CA, Landwehrmeyer BG, Lehrach H and Wanker EE

    Max-Delbrueck-Center for Molecular Medicine, 13125 Berlin-Buch, Germany.

    Analysis of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) is a valuable approach for characterizing proteins of unknown function. Here, we have developed a strategy combining library and matrix yeast two-hybrid screens to generate a highly connected PPI network for Huntington's disease (HD). The network contains 186 PPIs among 35 bait and 51 prey proteins. It revealed 165 new potential interactions, 32 of which were confirmed by independent binding experiments. The network also permitted the functional annotation of 16 uncharacterized proteins and facilitated the discovery of GIT1, a G protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein, which enhances huntingtin aggregation by recruitment of the protein into membranous vesicles. Coimmunoprecipitations and immunofluorescence studies revealed that GIT1 and huntingtin associate in mammalian cells under physiological conditions. Moreover, GIT1 localizes to neuronal inclusions, and is selectively cleaved in HD brains, indicating that its distribution and function is altered during disease pathogenesis.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS31862

    Molecular cell 2004;15;6;853-65

  • Proteomic, functional, and domain-based analysis of in vivo 14-3-3 binding proteins involved in cytoskeletal regulation and cellular organization.

    Jin J, Smith FD, Stark C, Wells CD, Fawcett JP, Kulkarni S, Metalnikov P, O'Donnell P, Taylor P, Taylor L, Zougman A, Woodgett JR, Langeberg LK, Scott JD and Pawson T

    Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X5, Canada.

    Background: 14-3-3 proteins are abundant and conserved polypeptides that mediate the cellular effects of basophilic protein kinases through their ability to bind specific peptide motifs phosphorylated on serine or threonine.

    Results: We have used mass spectrometry to analyze proteins that associate with 14-3-3 isoforms in HEK293 cells. This identified 170 unique 14-3-3-associated proteins, which show only modest overlap with previous 14-3-3 binding partners isolated by affinity chromatography. To explore this large set of proteins, we developed a domain-based hierarchical clustering technique that distinguishes structurally and functionally related subsets of 14-3-3 target proteins. This analysis revealed a large group of 14-3-3 binding partners that regulate cytoskeletal architecture. Inhibition of 14-3-3 phosphoprotein recognition in vivo indicates the general importance of such interactions in cellular morphology and membrane dynamics. Using tandem proteomic and biochemical approaches, we identify a phospho-dependent 14-3-3 binding site on the A kinase anchoring protein (AKAP)-Lbc, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for the Rho GTPase. 14-3-3 binding to AKAP-Lbc, induced by PKA, suppresses Rho activation in vivo.

    Conclusion: 14-3-3 proteins can potentially engage around 0.6% of the human proteome. Domain-based clustering has identified specific subsets of 14-3-3 targets, including numerous proteins involved in the dynamic control of cell architecture. This notion has been validated by the broad inhibition of 14-3-3 phosphorylation-dependent binding in vivo and by the specific analysis of AKAP-Lbc, a RhoGEF that is controlled by its interaction with 14-3-3.

    Funded by: NIDDK NIH HHS: DK44239

    Current biology : CB 2004;14;16;1436-50

  • Mutational analysis of PMP22, MPZ, GJB1, EGR2 and NEFL in Korean Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy patients.

    Choi BO, Lee MS, Shin SH, Hwang JH, Choi KG, Kim WK, Sunwoo IN, Kim NK and Chung KW

    Department of Neurology and Ewha Medical Research Center, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul 110-783, Korea.

    We examined CMT1A duplication of 17p11.2-p12, mutations of PMP22, MPZ (P0), GJB1 (Cx32), EGR2 and NEFL genes in 57 Korean families with patients diagnosed as having Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease. The CMT1A duplication was present in 53.6% of 28 CMT type 1 patients. In the 42 CMT families without CMT1A duplication, 10 pathogenic mutations were found in 9 families. The 10 mutations were not detected in 105 healthy controls. Seven mutations (c.318delT (p.Ala106fs) in PMP22, c.352G>A (p.Asp118Asn), c.449-1G>T (3'-splice site), c.706A>G (p.Lys236Glu) in MPZ, c.407T>C (p.Val136Ala)[corrected], c.502T>C (p.Cys168Arg) in GJB1, and c.1001T>C (p.Leu334Pro) in NEFL) were determined to be novel. The mutation frequencies of PMP22 and MPZ were similar to those found in several European populations, however, it appeared that mutations in GJB1 are less frequent in East Asian CMT patients than in Eur opean patients. We described the identified mutations and phenotype-genotype correlations based on nerve conduction studies.

    Human mutation 2004;24;2;185-6

  • Mutant small heat-shock protein 27 causes axonal Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and distal hereditary motor neuropathy.

    Evgrafov OV, Mersiyanova I, Irobi J, Van Den Bosch L, Dierick I, Leung CL, Schagina O, Verpoorten N, Van Impe K, Fedotov V, Dadali E, Auer-Grumbach M, Windpassinger C, Wagner K, Mitrovic Z, Hilton-Jones D, Talbot K, Martin JJ, Vasserman N, Tverskaya S, Polyakov A, Liem RK, Gettemans J, Robberecht W, De Jonghe P and Timmerman V

    Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute/Research Foundation for Mental Hygiene, Unit 28, 1051 Riverside Drive, New York, New York 10032, USA. Evgrafo@pi.cpmc.columbia.edu

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) is the most common inherited neuromuscular disease and is characterized by considerable clinical and genetic heterogeneity. We previously reported a Russian family with autosomal dominant axonal CMT and assigned the locus underlying the disease (CMT2F; OMIM 606595) to chromosome 7q11-q21 (ref. 2). Here we report a missense mutation in the gene encoding 27-kDa small heat-shock protein B1 (HSPB1, also called HSP27) that segregates in the family with CMT2F. Screening for mutations in HSPB1 in 301 individuals with CMT and 115 individuals with distal hereditary motor neuropathies (distal HMNs) confirmed the previously observed mutation and identified four additional missense mutations. We observed the additional HSPB1 mutations in four families with distal HMN and in one individual with CMT neuropathy. Four mutations are located in the Hsp20-alpha-crystallin domain, and one mutation is in the C-terminal part of the HSP27 protein. Neuronal cells transfected with mutated HSPB1 were less viable than cells expressing the wild-type protein. Cotransfection of neurofilament light chain (NEFL) and mutant HSPB1 resulted in altered neurofilament assembly in cells devoid of cytoplasmic intermediate filaments.

    Nature genetics 2004;36;6;602-6

  • Giant axon and neurofilament accumulation in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E.

    Fabrizi GM, Cavallaro T, Angiari C, Bertolasi L, Cabrini I, Ferrarini M and Rizzuto N

    Department of Neurological and Visual Sciences, Section of Clinical Neurology, University of Verona, Italy. gianmaria.fabrizi@univr.it

    The axonal type 2 Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT2) is phenotypically poorly characterized. Here the authors report a family with a Pro22Ser mutation in the neurofilament-light gene (NF-L; CMT2E) manifesting electrophysiologically as the demyelinating type 1 CMT (CMT1) and pathologically as an axonopathy with giant axons and accumulation of disorganized NF. NF-L should be investigated in CMT2 as well as in CMT1 not associated with the usual genes PMP22, Cx32, and P0.

    Neurology 2004;62;8;1429-31

  • The novel neurofilament light (NEFL) mutation Glu397Lys is associated with a clinically and morphologically heterogeneous type of Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy.

    Züchner S, Vorgerd M, Sindern E and Schröder JM

    Institut für Neuropathologie, Universitätsklinikum der RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 32, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease comprises a heterogeneous group of hereditary neuropathies which fall into two main groups: demyelinating CMT1 with reduced nerve conduction velocity and axonal CMT2 with normal nerve conduction velocity. The neuropathological features correspond in most cases to this classification. Four genes were recently identified to cause autosomal dominant CMT2, including the neurofilament light gene. Thus far, only few mutations have been reported in neurofilament light involving eight amino acids of the gene. We identified a novel mutation, Glu397Lys, in a conserved motive signaling the end of the rod domain. The affected family members from three generations showed strikingly different clinical phenotypes, including weakness of the lower extremities, foot deformities, and deafness. The mutation was associated with nerve conduction velocities ranging from 27 m/s in a 25-year-old female to 43 m/s in an 82-year-old male in the lower extremity motor nerves. Sural nerve biopsies of two affected subjects were analyzed by light and electron microscopy. The pathological changes consisted of a reduction of predominantly large myelinated nerve fibers and various stages of onion bulb formation as typically seen in CMT1. This correlative study further confirms that neurofilament light gene mutations cause a wide clinical spectrum. Thus, analysis of the neurofilament light gene should not be restricted to pure axonal neuropathies.

    Neuromuscular disorders : NMD 2004;14;2;147-57

  • NF-M is an essential target for the myelin-directed "outside-in" signaling cascade that mediates radial axonal growth.

    Garcia ML, Lobsiger CS, Shah SB, Deerinck TJ, Crum J, Young D, Ward CM, Crawford TO, Gotow T, Uchiyama Y, Ellisman MH, Calcutt NA and Cleveland DW

    Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

    Neurofilaments are essential for acquisition of normal axonal calibers. Several lines of evidence have suggested that neurofilament-dependent structuring of axoplasm arises through an "outside-in" signaling cascade originating from myelinating cells. Implicated as targets in this cascade are the highly phosphorylated KSP domains of neurofilament subunits NF-H and NF-M. These are nearly stoichiometrically phosphorylated in myelinated internodes where radial axonal growth takes place, but not in the smaller, unmyelinated nodes. Gene replacement has now been used to produce mice expressing normal levels of the three neurofilament subunits, but which are deleted in the known phosphorylation sites within either NF-M or within both NF-M and NF-H. This has revealed that the tail domain of NF-M, with seven KSP motifs, is an essential target for the myelination-dependent outside-in signaling cascade that determines axonal caliber and conduction velocity of motor axons.

    Funded by: NCRR NIH HHS: P41 RR004050, P41 RR04050; NINDS NIH HHS: NS 27036, NS 38855, R01 NS027036, R37 NS027036

    The Journal of cell biology 2003;163;5;1011-20

  • The NMDA receptor is coupled to the ERK pathway by a direct interaction between NR2B and RasGRF1.

    Krapivinsky G, Krapivinsky L, Manasian Y, Ivanov A, Tyzio R, Pellegrino C, Ben-Ari Y, Clapham DE and Medina I

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital, 1309 Enders Building, 320 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

    The NMDA subtype of glutamate receptors (NMDAR) at excitatory neuronal synapses plays a key role in synaptic plasticity. The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1,2 or ERK) pathway is an essential component of NMDAR signal transduction controlling the neuroplasticity underlying memory processes, neuronal development, and refinement of synaptic connections. Here we show that NR2B, but not NR2A or NR1 subunits of the NMDAR, interacts in vivo and in vitro with RasGRF1, a Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent Ras-guanine-nucleotide-releasing factor. Specific disruption of this interaction in living neurons abrogates NMDAR-dependent ERK activation. Thus, RasGRF1 serves as NMDAR-dependent regulator of the ERK kinase pathway. The specific association of RasGRF1 with the NR2B subunit and study of ERK activation in neurons with varied content of NR2B suggests that NR2B-containing channels are the dominant activators of the NMDA-dependent ERK pathway.

    Neuron 2003;40;4;775-84

  • Activation of peripheral NMDA receptors contributes to human pain and rat afferent discharges evoked by injection of glutamate into the masseter muscle.

    Cairns BE, Svensson P, Wang K, Hupfeld S, Graven-Nielsen T, Sessle BJ, Berde CB and Arendt-Nielsen L

    Department of Anesthesia, Harvard Medical School/Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

    Peripheral N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are found in deep tissues and may play a role in deep tissue pain. Injection of the endogenous NMDA receptor agonist glutamate into the masseter muscle excites deep craniofacial afferent fibers in rats and evokes pain in human subjects. It is not clear whether peripheral NMDA receptors play a role in these effects of glutamate. Accordingly, the effect of NMDA on afferent activity as well as the effect of locally administered NMDA receptor antagonists on glutamate-evoked afferent discharges in acutely anesthetized rats and muscle pain in human subjects was examined. Injection of NMDA into the masseter muscle evoked afferent discharges in a concentration-related manner. It was found that the NMDA receptor antagonists 2-amino-5-phosphonvalerate (APV, 10 mM), ketamine (10 mM), and dextromethorphan (40 mM) significantly decreased glutamate-evoked afferent discharges. The effects of APV and ketamine, but not dextromethorphan, were selective for glutamate-evoked afferent discharges and did not affect hypertonic saline-evoked afferent discharges. In human experiments, it was found that 10 mM ketamine decreased glutamate-evoked muscle pain but had no effect on hypertonic saline-evoked muscle pain. These results indicate that injection of glutamate into the masseter muscle evokes afferent discharges in rats and muscle pain in humans in part through activation of peripheral NMDA receptors. It is conceivable that activation of peripheral NMDA receptors may contribute to masticatory muscle pain and that peripherally acting NMDA receptor antagonists could prove to be effective analgesics for this type of pain.

    Journal of neurophysiology 2003;90;4;2098-105

  • UDP-N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase (OGT) in brain tissue: temperature sensitivity and subcellular distribution of cytosolic and nuclear enzyme.

    Okuyama R and Marshall S

    Hexos, Inc., 18304 NE 153rd Street, Woodinville, WA 98072, USA. Hexos@comcast.net

    In brain tissue, UDP-N-acetylglucosaminyl transferase (OGT) is known to catalyze the addition of a single N-acetylglucosamine moiety (GlcNAc) onto two proteins linked to the etiology of neurodegenerative disease--beta-amyloid associated protein and tau. Hyperphosphorylation of tau appears to cause neurofibrillary tangles and cell death, and a functional relationship appears to exist between phosphorylation and glycosylation. Since a greater understanding of brain OGT may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, we examined the characteristics and subcellular distribution of OGT protein and OGT activity and its relationship to O-linked glycosylation. We found that cytosolic OGT activity is 10 times more abundant in brain tissue compared with muscle, adipose, heart, and liver tissue. Temperature studies demonstrated that cytosolic OGT activity was stable at 24 degrees C but was rapidly inactivated at 37 degrees C (T1/2 = 20 min). Proteases were probably not involved because OGT immunopurified from cytosol retained temperature sensitivity. Subcellular distribution studies showed abundant OGT protein in the nucleus that was enzymatically active. Nuclear OGT activity exhibited a high affinity for UDP-GlcNAc and a salt sensitivity that was similar to cytosolic OGT; however, nuclear OGT was not inactivated at 37 degrees C, as was the cytosolic enzyme. Two methods were used to measure O-linked glycoproteins in brain cytosol and nucleosol -[3H]galactose labeling and western blotting using antibodies against O-linked glycoproteins. Both methods revealed a greater abundance of O-linked glycoproteins in the nucleus compared to cytosol.

    Journal of neurochemistry 2003;86;5;1271-80

  • Selective loss of trans-acting instability determinants of neurofilament mRNA in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis spinal cord.

    Ge WW, Leystra-Lantz C, Wen W and Strong MJ

    Cell Biology Research Group, Robarts Research Institute, London, Ontario N6A 5K8, Canada.

    Neurofilament (NF) aggregates in motor neurons are a key neuropathological feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have previously observed an alteration in the stoichiometry of NF subunit steady state mRNA levels in ALS spinal motor neurons using in situ hybridization and proposed that this led to aggregate formation. We have now examined the levels of NF mRNA in whole tissue homogenates of spinal cord using the RNase protection assay and real time reverse transcriptase-PCR and observed significant elevations of NF mRNA level in ALS. Compared with age-matched control, we observed a greater stability of heterogeneously expressed NFL mRNA in the presence of ALS spinal cord homogenates. Heat denaturing or protease K digestion of the control homogenates increased the stability of the NFL mRNA to levels observed in ALS homogenate. Increased NFL mRNA stability was also induced by increasing the percentage of ALS homogenate in an admixture of control and ALS homogenates. These observations suggest the presence of trans-acting NFL mRNA-destabilizing elements in control but not in ALS spinal cord homogenates. This was confirmed in gel retardation assays. We also observed that the destabilizing elements interact with the 3'-untranslated region of NFL mRNA. These findings suggest that the trans-acting NFL-destabilizing elements are selectively suppressed in ALS homogenates, resulting in an increased stability and level of NFL mRNA.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2003;278;29;26558-63

  • Myotubularin-related 2 protein phosphatase and neurofilament light chain protein, both mutated in CMT neuropathies, interact in peripheral nerve.

    Previtali SC, Zerega B, Sherman DL, Brophy PJ, Dina G, King RH, Salih MM, Feltri L, Quattrini A, Ravazzolo R, Wrabetz L, Monaco AP and Bolino A

    Neuropathology Unit, Department of Neurology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy.

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 4B1, CMT4B1, is a severe, autosomal-recessive, demyelinating peripheral neuropathy, due to mutations in the Myotubularin-related 2 gene, MTMR2. MTMR2 is widely expressed and encodes a phosphatase whose substrates include phosphoinositides. However, this does not explain how MTMR2 mutants specifically produce demyelination in the peripheral nerve. Therefore, we analysed the cellular and subcellular distribution of Mtmr2 in nerve. Mtmr2 was detected in all cytoplasmic compartments of myelin-forming Schwann cells, as well as in the cytoplasm of non-myelin-forming Schwann cells and both sensory and motorneurons. In contrast, Mtmr2 was detected in the nucleus of Schwann cells and motorneurons, but not in the nucleus of sensory neurons. As Mtmr2 is diffusely present also within the nerve, a specific function could derive instead from nerve-specific interacting proteins. Therefore, we performed two yeast two-hybrid screenings, using either fetal brain or peripheral nerve cDNA libraries. The neurofilament light chain protein, NF-L, was identified repeatedly in both screenings, and found to interact with MTMR2 in both Schwann cells and neurons. Interestingly, NF-L, encoding NF-L, is mutated in CMT2E. These data may provide a basis for the nerve-specific pathogenesis of CMT4B1, and further support for the notion that hereditary demyelinating and axonal neuropathies may represent different clinical manifestations of a common pathological mechanism.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS 41319, NS 45630; Telethon: TCP00062

    Human molecular genetics 2003;12;14;1713-23

  • Mutations in the neurofilament light chain gene (NEFL) cause early onset severe Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

    Jordanova A, De Jonghe P, Boerkoel CF, Takashima H, De Vriendt E, Ceuterick C, Martin JJ, Butler IJ, Mancias P, Papasozomenos SCh, Terespolsky D, Potocki L, Brown CW, Shy M, Rita DA, Tournev I, Kremensky I, Lupski JR and Timmerman V

    Molecular Genetics Department, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

    Neurofilament light chain polypeptide (NEFL) is one of the most abundant cytoskeletal components of the neuron. Mutations in the NEFL gene were recently reported as a cause for autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2E (CMT2E) linked to chromosome 8p21. In order to investigate the frequency and phenotypic consequences of NEFL mutations, we screened 323 patients with CMT or related peripheral neuropathies. We detected six disease associated missense mutations and one 3-bp in-frame deletion clustered in functionally defined domains of the NEFL protein. Patients have an early onset and often a severe clinical phenotype. Electrophysiological examination shows moderately to severely slowed nerve conduction velocities. We report the first nerve biopsy of a CMT patient with a de novo missense mutation in NEFL, and found an axonal pathology with axonal regeneration clusters and onion bulb formations. Our findings provide further evidence that the clinical variation observed in CMT depends on the gene mutated and the specific type of mutation, and we also suggest that NEFL mutations need to be considered in the molecular evaluation of patients with sporadic or dominantly inherited CMT.

    Funded by: NIDDK NIH HHS: K08 DK02738; NINDS NIH HHS: R01 NS27042

    Brain : a journal of neurology 2003;126;Pt 3;590-7

  • Effects of Charcot-Marie-Tooth-linked mutations of the neurofilament light subunit on intermediate filament formation.

    Perez-Olle R, Leung CL and Liem RK

    Department of Pathology, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, 630 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.

    Neurofilaments (NFs) are the major intermediate filaments (IFs) of mature neurons. They play important roles in the structure and function of axons. Recently, two mutations in the neurofilament light (NFL) subunit have been identified in families affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neuropathy type 2. We have characterized the effects of these NFL mutations on the formation of IF networks using a transient transfection system. Both mutations disrupted the self-assembly of human NFL. The Q333P mutant in the rod domain of NFL also disrupted the formation of rat and human NFL/NFM heteropolymers. The phenotypes produced by the P8R mutation in the head domain of NFL were less severe. The P8R mutant NFL co-polymerized with NFM to form bundled filaments and, less often, aggregates. Our results suggest that alterations in the formation of a normal IF network in neurons elicited by these NFL mutations may contribute to the development of Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: AG00189; NINDS NIH HHS: NS15182

    Journal of cell science 2002;115;Pt 24;4937-46

  • Identification of novel sequence variants in the neurofilament-light gene in a Japanese population: analysis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease patients and normal individuals.

    Yoshihara T, Yamamoto M, Hattori N, Misu K, Mori K, Koike H and Sobue G

    Department of Neurology, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan.

    Mutations of the neurofilament-light (NEFL/NF-L) gene were examined in 124 unrelated Japanese patients with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT) without known gene mutations, and 248 normal Japanese individuals. A new method, which can detect basepair mismatches with RNase cleavage on agarose gel electrophoresis, coupled with DNA sequencing, identified 8 novel sequence variations in the NF-L gene. In these sequence variants, 5 variants were polymorphisms, including 3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and 3 other missense mutations (Pro22Thr, Asn97Ser and Ala148Val) were found in the patients with CMT phenotype. The variant alleles in the NF-L gene could influence the developing process of CMT phenotype and also might cause CMT phenotype.

    Journal of the peripheral nervous system : JPNS 2002;7;4;221-4

  • The TSC1 tumor suppressor hamartin interacts with neurofilament-L and possibly functions as a novel integrator of the neuronal cytoskeleton.

    Haddad LA, Smith N, Bowser M, Niida Y, Murthy V, Gonzalez-Agosti C and Ramesh V

    Molecular Neurogenetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown 02129, USA.

    Tuberous sclerosis complex, an autosomal dominant disease caused by mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2, is characterized by the development of hamartomas in a variety of organs. The proteins encoded by TSC1 and TSC2, hamartin and tuberin, respectively, associate with each other forming a tight complex. Here we show that hamartin binds the neurofilament light chain and it is possible to recover the hamartin-tuberin complex over the neurofilament light chain rod domain spanning amino acids 93-156 by affinity precipitation. Homologous rod domains in other intermediate filaments such as neurofilament medium chain, alpha-internexin, vimentin, and desmin are not able to bind hamartin. In cultured cortical neurons, hamartin and tuberin co-localize with neurofilament light chain preferentially in the proximal to central growth cone region. Interestingly, in the distal part of the growth cone hamartin overlaps with the ezrin-radixin-moesin family of actin binding proteins, and we have validated the interaction of hamartin with moesin. These results demonstrate that hamartin may anchor neuronal intermediate filaments to the actin cytoskeleton, which may be critical for some of the CNS functions of the hamartin-tuberin complex, and abolishing this through mutations in TSC1 or TSC2 may lead to certain neurological manifestations associated with the disease.

    Funded by: NINDS NIH HHS: NS24279, NS41917

    The Journal of biological chemistry 2002;277;46;44180-6

  • Myosin Va binding to neurofilaments is essential for correct myosin Va distribution and transport and neurofilament density.

    Rao MV, Engle LJ, Mohan PS, Yuan A, Qiu D, Cataldo A, Hassinger L, Jacobsen S, Lee VM, Andreadis A, Julien JP, Bridgman PC and Nixon RA

    Center for Dementia Research, Nathan Kline Institute, NYU School of Medicine, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.

    The identification of molecular motors that modulate the neuronal cytoskeleton has been elusive. Here, we show that a molecular motor protein, myosin Va, is present in high proportions in the cytoskeleton of mouse CNS and peripheral nerves. Immunoelectron microscopy, coimmunoprecipitation, and blot overlay analyses demonstrate that myosin Va in axons associates with neurofilaments, and that the NF-L subunit is its major ligand. A physiological association is indicated by observations that the level of myosin Va is reduced in axons of NF-L-null mice lacking neurofilaments and increased in mice overexpressing NF-L, but unchanged in NF-H-null mice. In vivo pulse-labeled myosin Va advances along axons at slow transport rates overlapping with those of neurofilament proteins and actin, both of which coimmunoprecipitate with myosin Va. Eliminating neurofilaments from mice selectively accelerates myosin Va translocation and redistributes myosin Va to the actin-rich subaxolemma and membranous organelles. Finally, peripheral axons of dilute-lethal mice, lacking functional myosin Va, display selectively increased neurofilament number and levels of neurofilament proteins without altering axon caliber. These results identify myosin Va as a neurofilament-associated protein, and show that this association is essential to establish the normal distribution, axonal transport, and content of myosin Va, and the proper numbers of neurofilaments in axons.

    Funded by: NIA NIH HHS: 2T32 AG 00222, AG 05604, R01 AG005604, R37 AG005604, T32 AG000222; NIDDK NIH HHS: P30 DK 19525, P30 DK019525

    The Journal of cell biology 2002;159;2;279-90

  • A novel NF-L mutation Pro22Ser is associated with CMT2 in a large Slovenian family.

    Georgiou DM, Zidar J, Korosec M, Middleton LT, Kyriakides T and Christodoulou K

    The Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics, Nicosia, Cyprus.

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most-common form of inherited motor and sensory neuropathy. The autosomal dominant axonal form of the disease (CMT2) is currently subdivided into seven types based on genetic localization. These are CMT2A (1p35-p36), CMT2B (3q13-q22), CMT2C (unknown), CMT2D (7p14), CMT2E (8p21), HMNSP (3q13.1), and CMT2F (7q11-q21). Two loci have thus far been identified for autosomal recessive CMT2; ARCMT2A (1q21.1-q21.3) and ARCMT2B (19q13.3). Mutations in four genes (connexin 32, myelin protein zero, neurofilament-light, and kinesin) have been associated with the CMT2 phenotype. We identified a novel neurofilament-light missense mutation (C64T) that causes the disease in a large Slovenian CMT2 family. This novel mutation shows complete co-segregation with the dominantly inherited CMT2 phenotype in our family.

    Neurogenetics 2002;4;2;93-6

  • Neurofilament L gene is not a genetic factor of sporadic and familial Parkinson's disease.

    Rahner N, Holzmann C, Krüger R, Schöls L, Berger K and Riess O

    Department of Medical Genetics, Children's Hospital, University Rostock, Rembrandt Strasse 16/17, 18055, Rostock, Germany.

    Mutations in two genes, alpha-synuclein and parkin, have been identified as some rare causes for familial Parkinson's disease (PD). alpha-Synuclein and parkin protein have subsequently been identified in Lewy bodies (LB). To gain further insight into the pathogenesis of PD we investigated the role of neurofilament light (NF-L), another component of LB aggregation. A detailed mutation search of the NF-L gene in 328 sporadic and familial PD patients of German ancestry revealed three silent DNA changes (G163A, C224T, C487T) in three unrelated patients. Analysis of the promoter region of the NF-L gene identified a total of three base pair substitutions defining five haplotypes. Association studies based on these haplotypes revealed no significant differences between PD patients and 344 control individuals. Therefore, NF-L is unlikely to play a major role in the pathogenesis of PD.

    Brain research 2002;951;1;82-6

  • [Detection of level and mutation of neurofilament mRNA in Alzheimer's disease].

    Wang Y, Wang Q and Wang J

    Department of Pathophysiology, Research Institute of Neuroscience, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, China.

    Objective: To study if the increase of levels of neurofilament (NF)-M and NF-L in brain of Alzheimer's diseases (AD) is caused by increase of NF-M and NF-L.

    Methods: Semi-quantitative reverse transcription PCR was used to measure the NF-M and NF-L mRNA levels in the brain gray matter obtained by autopsy from 8 patients with AD and 7 age-matched patients with Huntington's disease (HD) used as controls. The mutation of NF-M and NF-L was detected by single strand DNA conformation polymorphism technique.

    Results: The levels of NF-M mRNA and NF-L mRNA were significantly lower in the brains of AD patients (0.3 +/- 0.03 * OD(NF-M)/OD(GAPDH) or OD(NF-L)/OD(GAPDH) and 0.44 +/- 0.16 * OD(NF-M)/OD(GAPDH) or OD(NF-L)/OD(GAPDH) respectively) than in the brains of HD patients (0.42 +/- 0.07 OD(NF-M)/OD(GAPDH) or OD(NF-L)/OD(GAPDH) and 0.79 +/- 0.09 OD(NF-M)/OD(GAPDH) or OD(NF-L)/OD(GAPDH) respectively) (P < 0.005 and P < 0.007 respectively). NF-M mutation was detected in one AD patient. No NF-L mutation was found in the samples examined.

    Conclusion: The increase of neurofilament protein observed in the brains of AD patients is related neither to increased gene transcription nor to mutation of NF mRNA.

    Zhonghua yi xue za zhi 2002;82;8;519-22

  • Further evidence that neurofilament light chain gene mutations can cause Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2E.

    De Jonghe P, Mersivanova I, Nelis E, Del Favero J, Martin JJ, Van Broeckhoven C, Evgrafov O and Timmerman V

    Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Born-Bunge Foundation, University of Antwerp, Division of Neurology, Belgium. dejonghe@uia.ua.ac.be

    A missense mutation in the neurofilament light chain gene (NEFL, NF-L) at chromosome 8p21 was recently reported in a single Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 family (CMT2). This new CMT2 variant is designated CMT2E. The NEFL gene mutation showed co-segregation with the disease phenotype and is thus most likely the disease-causing mutation. However, the possibility that it is a closely linked rare polymorphism can not be ruled out with certainty. We observed a novel NEFL missense mutation in a second CMT family, providing supporting evidence that CMT2E is caused by NEFL gene mutations.

    Annals of neurology 2001;49;2;245-9

  • A new variant of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2 is probably the result of a mutation in the neurofilament-light gene.

    Mersiyanova IV, Perepelov AV, Polyakov AV, Sitnikov VF, Dadali EL, Oparin RB, Petrin AN and Evgrafov OV

    Research Centre for Medical Genetics, Moscow, Russia. dnalab@orc.ru

    Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease is the most common inherited motor and sensory neuropathy. The axonal form of the disease is designated as "CMT type 2" (CMT2). Although four loci known to be implicated in autosomal dominant CMT2 have been mapped thus far (on 1p35-p36, 3q13. 1, 3q13-q22, and 7p14), no one causative gene is yet known. A large Russian family with CMT2 was found in the Mordovian Republic (Russia). Affected members had the typical CMT2 phenotype. Additionally, several patients suffered from hyperkeratosis, although the association, if any, between the two disorders is not clear. Linkage with the CMT loci already known (CMT1A, CMT1B, CMT2A, CMT2B, CMT2D, and a number of other CMT-related loci) was excluded. Genomewide screening pinpointed the disease locus in this family to chromosome 8p21, within a 16-cM interval between markers D8S136 and D8S1769. A maximum two-point LOD score of 5.93 was yielded by a microsatellite from the 5' region of the neurofilament-light gene (NF-L). Neurofilament proteins play an important role in axonal structure and are implicated in several neuronal disorders. Screening of affected family members for mutations in the NF-L gene and in the tightly linked neurofilament-medium gene (NF-M) revealed the only DNA alteration linked with the disease: a A998C transversion in the first exon of NF-L, which converts a conserved Gln333 amino acid to proline. This alteration was not found in 180 normal chromosomes. Twenty unrelated CMT2 patients, as well as 26 others with an undetermined form of CMT, also were screened for mutations in NF-L, but no additional mutations were found. It is suggested that Gln333Pro represents a rare disease-causing mutation, which results in the CMT2 phenotype.

    American journal of human genetics 2000;67;1;37-46

  • Ras-specific exchange factor GRF: oligomerization through its Dbl homology domain and calcium-dependent activation of Raf.

    Anborgh PH, Qian X, Papageorge AG, Vass WC, DeClue JE and Lowy DR

    Laboratory of Cellular Oncology, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.

    The full-length versions of the Ras-specific exchange factors Ras-GRF1 (GRF1) and Ras-GRF2 (GRF2), which are expressed in brain and a restricted number of other organs, possess an ionomycin-dependent activation of Erk mitogen-activated protein kinase activity in 293T cells (C. L. Farnsworth et al., Nature 376:524-527, 1995; N. P. Fam et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 17:1396-1406, 1996). Each GRF protein contains a Dbl homology (DH) domain. A yeast two-hybrid screen was used to identify polypeptides that associate with the DH domain of GRF1. In this screen, a positive cDNA clone from a human brain cDNA library was isolated which consisted of the GRF2 DH domain and its adjacent ilimaquinone domain. Deletion analysis verified that the two-hybrid interaction required only the DH domains, and mutation of Leu-263 to Gln (L263Q) in the N terminus of the GRF1 DH domain abolished the two-hybrid interaction, while a cluster of more C-terminally located mutations in the DH domain did not eliminate the interaction. Oligomers between GRF1 and GRF2 were detected in a rat brain extract, and forced expression of GRF1 and GRF2 in cultured mammalian cells formed homo- and hetero-oligomers. Introduction of the L263Q mutation in GRF1 led to a protein that was deficient in oligomer formation, while GRF1 containing the DH cluster mutations formed homo-oligomers with an efficiency similar to that of wild type. Compared to wild-type GRF1, the focus-forming activity on NIH 3T3 cells of the GRF1 DH cluster mutant was reduced, while the L263Q mutant was inactive. Both mutants were impaired in their ability to mediate ionomycin-dependent Erk activity in 293T cells. In the absence of ionomycin, 293T cells expressing wild-type GRF1 contained much higher levels of Ras-GTP than control cells; the increase in Erk activity induced by ionomycin in the GRF1-expressing cells also induced a concomitant increase in Raf kinase activity, but without a further increase in the level Ras-GTP. We conclude that GRF1 and GRF2 can form homo- and hetero-oligomers via their DH domains, that mutational inactivation of oligomer formation by GRF1 is associated with impaired biological and signaling activities, and that in 293T cells GRF1 mediates at least two pathways for Raf activation: one a constitutive signal that is mainly Ras-dependent, and one an ionomycin-induced signal that cooperates with the constitutive signal without further augmenting the level of GTP-Ras.

    Molecular and cellular biology 1999;19;7;4611-22

  • Gene targeting studies begin to reveal the function of neurofilament proteins.

    Hirokawa N and Takeda S

    Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, 113-0033 Japan.

    The Journal of cell biology 1998;143;1;1-4

  • Splice variant-specific interaction of the NMDA receptor subunit NR1 with neuronal intermediate filaments.

    Ehlers MD, Fung ET, O'Brien RJ and Huganir RL

    Department of Neuroscience, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.

    NMDA receptors are excitatory neurotransmitter receptors critical for synaptic plasticity and neuronal development in the mammalian brain. These receptors are found highly concentrated in the postsynaptic membrane of glutamatergic synapses. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying NMDA receptor localization, we used the yeast two-hybrid system to identify proteins expressed in the brain that interact with the NMDA receptor subunit NR1. Here we report that the 68 kDa neurofilament subunit NF-L directly interacts with the NR1 subunit. This interaction occurs between the cytoplasmic C-terminal domain of NR1 and the rod domain of NF-L. However, NR1 splice variants lacking the first C-terminal exon cassette (C1) failed to associate with NF-L. Immunogold electron microscopy revealed a preferential localization of NR1 at the ends of in vitro-assembled neurofilaments. Overexpression of C1 cassette-containing NR1 constructs in fibroblast cells disrupted the assembly of recombinant neurofilaments. In addition, NR1 and NF-L cofractionated in detergent-treated rat brain synaptic plasma membranes. Furthermore, NR1 and NF-L colocalize in the dendrites and growth cones of cultured hippocampal neurons. These results demonstrate the splice variant-specific association of NR1 with neurofilaments and suggest a possible mechanism for anchoring or localizing NMDA receptors in the neuronal plasma membrane.

    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience 1998;18;2;720-30

  • Adjacent asparagines in the NR2-subunit of the NMDA receptor channel control the voltage-dependent block by extracellular Mg2+.

    Wollmuth LP, Kuner T and Sakmann B

    Abteilung Zellphysiologie, Max-Planck-Institut für medizinische Forschung, Heidelberg, Germany. wollmuth@sunny.mpimf-Heidelberg.mpg.de

    1. The voltage-dependent block of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor channels by extracellular Mg2+ is a critical determinant of its contribution to CNS synaptic physiology. The function of the narrow constriction of the channel in determining the block was investigated by analysing the effects of a set different amino acid substitutions at exposed residues positioned at or near this region. NMDA receptor channels, composed of wild-type and mutant NR1- and NR2A-subunits, were expressed in Xenopus oocytes or human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. 2. In wild-type channels, the voltage dependence (delta) of the block Mg2+ was concentration dependent with values of delta of integral of 0.82 in 0.07 mM and higher concentrations. Under bionic conditions with high extracellular Mg2+ and K+ as the reference ion, Mg2+ weakly permeated the channel. Over intermediate potentials (approximately -60 to -10 mV), this weak permeability had no apparent effect on the block but at potentials negative to approximately -60mV, it attenuated the extent and voltage dependence of the block. 3. Substitutions of glycine, serine, glutamine or aspartate for the N-site asparagine in the NR1-subunit enhanced the extent of block over intermediate potentials but left the voltage dependence of the block unchanged indicating that structural determinants of the block remained. These same substitutions either attenuated or left unchanged the apparent Mg2+ permeability. 4. In channels containing substitutions of glycine, serine or glutamine for the N-site asparagine in the NR2A-subunit, the block Mg2+ was reduced at negative potentials. Over intermediate potentials, the block was not strongly attenuated except for the glutamine substitution which reduced the voltage dependence of the block to integral of 0.57 in 0.7 mM Mg2+. 5. Equivalent substitutions for the N + 1 site asparagine in the NR2A-subunit strongly attenuated the block over the entire voltage range. In 0.7 mM Mg2+, the voltage dependence of the block was reduced to 0.50 (glycine), 0.53 (serine) and 0.46 (glutamine). 6. Channels containing substitutions of the N-site or N + 1 site asparagines in the NR2A-subunit showed an increased Mg2+ permeability suggesting that these adjacent asparagines form a barrier for inward Mg2+ flux. Changes in this barrier contribute, at least in part, to the mechanism underlying disruption of the block following substitution of these residues. 7. The adjacent NR2A-subunit asparagines are positioned at or near the narrow constriction of the channel. Pore size, however, did not determine how effectively Mg2+ blocks mutant channels. 8. It is concluded that, at the narrow constriction in the NMDA receptor channel, the adjacent NR2A-subunit asparagines, the N-site and N + 1 site, but not the N-site asparagine of the NR1-subunit, form a critical blocking site for extracellular Mg2+. The contribution to the blocking site, in contrast to the prevailing view, is stronger for the N + 1 site than for the N-site asparagine. The block may involve binding of Mg2+ to these residues.

    The Journal of physiology 1998;506 ( Pt 1);13-32

  • Heterodimeric associations between neuronal intermediate filament proteins.

    Athlan ES and Mushynski WE

    Department of Biochemistry, McGill University, 3655 Drummond Street, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1Y6, Canada.

    Formation of protein dimers involving alpha-internexin, peripherin, and the neurofilament (NF) proteins NFH, NFM, and NFL was investigated by partial renaturation of various combinations of individually purified subunits in buffered 2 M urea. Oligomers that were formed were resolved by "blue" native electrophoresis (Schägger, H., Cramer, W. A., and von Jagow, G. (1994) Anal. Biochem. 217, 220-230) modified to include urea in the polyacrylamide gels. Combining this method with Western blot analysis, disulfide cross-linking, and SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis in the second dimension showed that NFL readily forms significant amounts of heterodimer with NFH, NFM, alpha-internexin, or peripherin in the presence of 2 M urea. alpha-Internexin and peripherin also formed heterodimers with NFH or NFM under these conditions. The modified version of blue native gel electrophoresis described here may be useful in monitoring the impact of post-translational modifications and mutations on the dimerization of intermediate filament proteins.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 1997;272;49;31073-8

  • Construction and characterization of a full length-enriched and a 5'-end-enriched cDNA library.

    Suzuki Y, Yoshitomo-Nakagawa K, Maruyama K, Suyama A and Sugano S

    International and Interdisciplinary Studies, The University of Tokyo, Japan.

    Using 'oligo-capped' mRNA [Maruyama, K., Sugano, S., 1994. Oligo-capping: a simple method to replace the cap structure of eukaryotic mRNAs with oligoribonucleotides. Gene 138, 171-174], whose cap structure was replaced by a synthetic oligonucleotide, we constructed two types of cDNA library. One is a 'full length-enriched cDNA library' which has a high content of full-length cDNA clones and the other is a '5'-end-enriched cDNA library', which has a high content of cDNA clones with their mRNA start sites. The 5'-end-enriched library was constructed especially for isolating the mRNA start sites of long mRNAs. In order to characterize these libraries, we performed one-pass sequencing of randomly selected cDNA clones from both libraries (84 clones for the full length-enriched cDNA library and 159 clones for the 5'-end-enriched cDNA library). The cDNA clones of the polypeptide chain elongation factor 1 alpha were most frequently (nine clones) isolated, and more than 80% of them (eight clones) contained the mRNA start site of the gene. Furthermore, about 80% of the cDNA clones of both libraries whose sequence matched with known genes had the known 5' ends or sequences upstream of the known 5' ends (28 out of 35 for the full length-enriched library and 51 out of 62 for the 5'-end-enriched library). The longest full-length clone of the full length-enriched cDNA library was about 3300 bp (among 28 clones). In contrast, seven clones (out of the 51 clones with the mRNA start sites) from the 5'-end-enriched cDNA library came from mRNAs whose length is more than 3500 bp. These cDNA libraries may be useful for generating 5' ESTs with the information of the mRNA start sites that are now scarce in the EST database.

    Gene 1997;200;1-2;149-56

  • Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases have increased levels of neurofilament protein in CSF.

    Rosengren LE, Karlsson JE, Karlsson JO, Persson LI and Wikkelsø C

    Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Göteborg, Sweden.

    In the present study we describe an ELISA to quantify the light subunit of the neurofilament triplet protein (NFL) in CSF. The method was validated by measuring CSF NFL concentrations in healthy individuals and in two well-characterized groups of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). The levels were increased in ALS (1,743 +/- 1,661 ng/L; mean +/- SD) and AD (346 +/- 176 ng/L) compared with controls (138 +/- 31 ng/L; p < 0.0001 for both). Within the ALS group, patients with lower motor neuron signs only had lower NFL levels (360 +/- 237 ng/L) than those with signs of upper motor neuron disease (2,435 +/- 1,633 ng/L) (p < 0.05). In a second study patients with miscellaneous neurodegenerative diseases were investigated (vascular dementia, olivopontocerebellar atrophy, normal pressure hydrocephalus, cerebral infarctions, and multiple sclerosis), and the CSF NFL level was found to be increased (665 +/- 385 ng/L; p < 0.0001). NFL is a main structural protein of axons, and we suggest that CSF NFL can be used to monitor neurodegeneration in general, but particularly in ALS with involvement of the pyramidal tract.

    Journal of neurochemistry 1996;67;5;2013-8

  • PKN associates and phosphorylates the head-rod domain of neurofilament protein.

    Mukai H, Toshimori M, Shibata H, Kitagawa M, Shimakawa M, Miyahara M, Sunakawa H and Ono Y

    Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Kobe University, Japan.

    PKN is a fatty acid-activated serine/threonine kinase that has a catalytic domain highly homologous to that of protein kinase C in the carboxyl terminus and a unique regulatory region in the amino terminus. Recently, we reported that the small GTP-binding protein Rho binds to the amino-terminal region of PKN and activates PKN in a GTP-dependent manner, and we suggested that PKN is located on the downstream of Rho in the signal transduction pathway (Amano, M., Mukai, H., Ono, Y., Chihara, K., Matsui, T., Hamajima, Y., Okawa, K., Iwamatsu, A., and Kaibuchi, K. (1996) Science 271, 648-650; Watanabe, G., Saito, Y., Madaule, P., Ishizaki, T., Fujisawa, K., Morii, N., Mukai, H., Ono, Y. Kakizuka, A., and Narumiya, S. (1996) Science 271, 645-648). To identify other components of the PKN pathway such as substrates and regulatory proteins of PKN, the yeast two-hybrid strategy was employed. By this screening, a clone encoding the neurofilament L protein, a subunit of neuron-specific intermediate filament, was isolated. The amino-terminal regulatory region of PKN was shown to associate with the head-rod domains of other subunits of neurofilament (neurofilament proteins M and H) as well as neurofilament L protein in yeast cells. The direct binding between PKN and each subunit of neurofilament was confirmed by using the in vitro translated amino-terminal region of PKN and glutathione S-transferase fusion protein containing the head-rod domain of each subunit of neurofilament. PKN purified from rat testis phosphorylated each subunit of the native neurofilament purified from bovine spinal cord and the bacterially synthesized head-rod domain of each subunit of neurofilament. Polymerization of neurofilament L protein in vitro was inhibited by phosphorylation of neurofilament L protein by PKN. The identification and characterization of the novel interaction with PKN may contribute toward the elucidation of mechanisms regulating the function of neurofilament.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 1996;271;16;9816-22

  • Expression of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase types II and IV, and reduced DNA synthesis due to the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase inhibitor KN-62 (1-[N,O-bis(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-N-methyl-L-tyrosyl]-4-phenyl piperazine) in small cell lung carcinoma.

    Williams CL, Phelps SH and Porter RA

    Molecular Pharmacology Laboratory, Guthrie Research Institute, Sayre, PA 18840, USA.

    Because changes in intracellular Ca2+ affect progression through the mitotic cell cycle, we investigated the role of Ca2+-binding proteins in regulating cell cycle progression. Evidence was found demonstrating that the activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase) inhibits cell cycle progression in small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) cells. We also demonstrated that SCLC cells express both CaM kinase type II (CaMKII) and CaM kinase type IV (CaMKIV). Five independent SCLC cell lines expressed proteins reactive with antibody to the CaMKII beta subunit, but none expressed detectable proteins reactive with antibody to the CaMKII alpha subunit. All SCLC cell lines tested expressed both the alpha and beta isoforms of CaMKIV. Immunoprecipitation of CaMKII from SCLC cells yielded multiple proteins that autophosphorylated in the presence of Ca2+ / calmodulin. Autophosphorylation was inhibited by the CaMKII(281-302) peptide, which corresponds to the CaMKII autoinhibitory domain, and by 1-[N,O-bis(5-isoquinolinesulfonyl)-N-methyl-L-tyrosyl]-4- phenylpiperazine (KN-62), a specific CaM kinase antagonist. Influx of Ca2+ through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels stimulated phosphorylation of CaMKII in SCLC cells, and this was inhibited by KN-62. Incubation of SCLC cells of KN-62 potently inhibited DNA synthesis, and slowed progression through S phase. Similar anti-proliferative effects of KN-62 occurred in SK-N-SH human neuroblastoma cells, which express both CaMKII and CaMKIV, and in K562 human chronic myelogenous leukemia cells, which express CaMKII but not CaMKIV. The expression of both CaMKII and CaMKIV by SCLC cells, and the sensitivity of these cells to the anti-proliferative effects of KN-62, suggest a role for CaM kinase in regulating SCLC proliferation.

    Funded by: NCI NIH HHS: CA52471

    Biochemical pharmacology 1996;51;5;707-15

  • Multiple neuron-specific enhancers in the gene coding for the human neurofilament light chain.

    Charron G, Guy LG, Bazinet M and Julien JP

    Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University, Montreal General Hospital Research Institute, Quebec, Canada.

    To define DNA regions involved in the neuron-specific expression of the neurofilament light (NF-L) gene, we generated transgenic mice bearing different NF-L constructs. A 4.9-kilobase human NF-L fragment including -292 base pairs of 5'-flanking sequences contained sufficient elements for nervous system expression in transgenic mice. Deletion of introns 1 and 2 from this 4.9-kilobase DNA fragment resulted in reduced levels of transgene expression in the cortex, while deletion of intron 3 had little effect. Both introns 1 and 2 could act independently as enhancers to confer neuronal expression of the basal heat shock promoter (hsp68) fused to lacZ in transgenic mice. The hNF-L basal promoter (-292 base pairs) was found to contain elements for directing neuronal expression of either the lacZ reporter gene or an intronless hNF-L construct. Sequence comparison revealed that intron 1, intron 2, and the basal human NF-L promoter all contain an ETS-like motif, CAGGA, present in a variety of genes expressed in the nervous system.

    The Journal of biological chemistry 1995;270;51;30604-10

  • Developmental rearrangements of cortical glutamate-NMDA receptor binding sites in late human gestation.

    Andersen DL, Tannenberg AE, Burke CJ and Dodd PR

    Royal Brisbane Hospital Research Foundation, Australia.

    NMDA-preferring glutamate receptor biding sites were characterized using the site-selective ligand [3H]MK801, in synaptic membranes prepared from cerebral cortex tissue obtained postmortem from human infants who had died with minimal neurological and neuropathological impairment between 22 and 42 weeks' gestation. It proved necessary to modify the assay protocol used with adult tissue before reliable data could be obtained. In the four cortical region studied (prefrontal, motor, occipital, temporal), [3H]MK801 bound to a single class of sites which showed significant variations in affinity only in motor cortex. The density of [3H]MK801 binding sites (calculated at constant affinity) showed marked increases in all cortical regions over this period. The extent to which glutamate could enhance [3H]MK801 binding became significantly lower in prefrontal and motor cortex as gestation progressed, so that at term, little activation was apparent. In occipital and temporal cortex, this parameter was low throughout late gestation. The evidence suggests that Glutamate-NMDA binding sites may undergo structural rearrangements which alter their ability to interact with ligands during the later stages of human gestation, and that such changes are regionally variable.

    Brain research. Developmental brain research 1995;88;2;178-85

  • AP-1 and Krox-24 transcription factors activate the neurofilament light gene promoter in P19 embryonal carcinoma cells.

    Pospelov VA, Pospelova TV and Julien JP

    Institute of Cytology, Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg.

    Changes in the neuronal content of neurofilament proteins occur in some neuropathological conditions, but little is known about the molecular mechanisms that control both the cell type specificity and the levels of expression of neurofilament genes. In addition to TATA and Sp1 elements, we report here the presence in the neurofilament light (NF-L) promoter region of other regulatory elements, namely, an AP-1 element TGCGTCAG, a Krox-24 element GCACCCCGC, and an Ets-like element AGCAAGCAGGAATTT. These elements constitute binding sites for specific nuclear factors present in aggregated P19 embryonal carcinoma cells. Using cotransfection assays in P19 embryonal carcinoma cells, we show that NF-L promoter fragments fused to the reporter chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene can be trans-activated by expression vectors encoding FOS and JUN (AP-1) and by Krox-24 protein. The finding of functional elements for immediate early gene products in the NF-L promoter suggests molecular pathways by which the modulation of neurofilament expression can be coupled to growth factors and other external stimuli.

    Cell growth & differentiation : the molecular biology journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 1994;5;2;187-96

  • Oligo-capping: a simple method to replace the cap structure of eukaryotic mRNAs with oligoribonucleotides.

    Maruyama K and Sugano S

    Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Japan.

    We have devised a method to replace the cap structure of a mRNA with an oligoribonucleotide (r-oligo) to label the 5' end of eukaryotic mRNAs. The method consists of removing the cap with tobacco acid pyrophosphatase (TAP) and ligating r-oligos to decapped mRNAs with T4 RNA ligase. This reaction was made cap-specific by removing 5'-phosphates of non-capped RNAs with alkaline phosphatase prior to TAP treatment. Unlike the conventional methods that label the 5' end of cDNAs, this method specifically labels the capped end of the mRNAs with a synthetic r-oligo prior to first-strand cDNA synthesis. The 5' end of the mRNA was identified quite simply by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

    Gene 1994;138;1-2;171-4

  • Glycosylation of mammalian neurofilaments. Localization of multiple O-linked N-acetylglucosamine moieties on neurofilament polypeptides L and M.

    Dong DL, Xu ZS, Chevrier MR, Cotter RJ, Cleveland DW and Hart GW

    Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205.

    Neurofilaments are neuronal intermediate filaments that play an important role in the growth and maintenance of large myelinated axons. Mammalian neurofilaments are composed of three polypeptide subunits, designed as NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H, all of which are phosphorylated. Here, we demonstrate by several criteria that neurofilament polypeptides are also modified by an abundant type of intracellular protein glycosylation in which single N-acetylglucosamine monosaccharides are O-glycosidically (O-GlcNAc) linked to serine or threonine residues. In purified neurofilament proteins, the O-GlcNAc modifications occur at a stoichiometry of approximately 0.1 and 0.15 mol of GlcNAc/mol of NF-L and NF-M, respectively. The predominant sites of O-GlcNAc attachment on NF-L and NF-M are identified using proteolysis, purification of the glycopeptides, and subsequent analysis by automated gas-phase sequencing, manual Edman degradation, and laser desorption mass spectrometry. For NF-L, both major sites of glycosylation (Thr21 and Ser27) are located at the NH2-terminal head domain. For NF-M, one major site (Thr48) lies within the NH2-terminal head domain, whereas the other (Thr431) is located at the tail domain. Deletions encompassing these sites have been shown previously to have a dominant detrimental effect upon neurofilament assembly, raising questions about the specific function(s) of the saccharide moieties at these sites. Specific identification of these O-GlcNAc attachment sites has set the stage for more detailed mutagenic analysis of O-GlcNAc functions on neurofilaments.

    Funded by: NICHD NIH HHS: HD13563; NINDS NIH HHS: NS27036; PHS HHS: 1P30A128748

    The Journal of biological chemistry 1993;268;22;16679-87

  • Origin of the two mRNA species for the human neurofilament light gene.

    Beaudet L, Charron G and Julien JP

    Centre for Research in Neuroscience, McGill University, Montréal, Que., Canada.

    The human neurofilament light (hNF-L) gene yields two major species of mRNAs of 2.4 and 3.8 kilobases (kb) in size. To investigate the origin of these two mRNAs, we have analyzed in transgenic mice the expression of hNF-L DNA fragments including different lengths of 5'-flanking regions. The finding that the 3.8-kb mRNA species is produced by a hNF-L transgene that includes only the proximal promoter region (-0.3 kb) demonstrates that both the 2.4- and 3.8-kb mRNAs are derived from the same site of transcription initiation. Sequencing of the 3' untranslated region of the hNF-L gene revealed the presence of multiple AATAAA polyadenylation signals. We conclude from Northern blotting experiments using probes spanning various regions of the hNF-L gene that the 2.4- and 3.8-kb mRNAs originate from the selective use of polyadenylation signals located 1.4 kb apart.

    Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire 1992;70;5;279-84

  • Interaction domains of neurofilament light chain and brain spectrin.

    Frappier T, Stetzkowski-Marden F and Pradel LA

    C.N.R.S. U.A. 1089, Laboratoire de Biophysique, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.

    We have previously demonstrated that brain spectrin binds to the low-molecular-mass subunit of neurofilaments (NF-L) [Frappier, Regnouf & Pradel (1987) Eur. J. Biochem. 169, 651-657]. In the present study, we seek to locate their respective binding domains. In the first part we demonstrate that brain spectrin binds to a 20 kDa domain of NF-L. This domain is part of the rod domain of neurofilaments and plays a role in the polymerization process. However, the polymerization state does not seem to have any influence on the interaction. In the second part, we provide evidence that NF-L binds to the beta-subunit of not only brain spectrin but also human and avian erythrocyte spectrins. The microtubule-associated protein, MAP2, which has also been shown to bind to microfilaments and neurofilaments, binds to the same domain of NF-L as spectrin does. Finally, among the tryptic peptides of brain spectrin, we show that some peptides of low molecular mass (35, 25, 20 and 18 kDa) co-sediment with either NF-L or F-actin.

    The Biochemical journal 1991;275 ( Pt 2);521-7

  • Expression of rat neurofilament proteins NF-L and NF-M in transfected non-neuronal cells.

    Chin SS and Liem RK

    Department of Pharmacology, New York University Medical Center, NY.

    Two cDNA clones fully encoding the rat neurofilament proteins NF-L and NF-M were subcloned into eukaryotic expression vectors behind the strong constitutive viral promoters from SV40 and Rous sarcoma viruses. Transient transfection of L tk- and Cos cell lines with these expression constructs resulted in cells expressing the neurofilament proteins in an intermediate filament-type pattern. Additionally, a putative juxtanuclear organizing center or region was observed in the transfected cells, most noticeable shortly after the transfection procedure. Stable transfections were performed on mouse L tk- and Swiss 3T6 cells using NF-L and NF-M constructs bearing an SV40 early promoter driven neomycin selectable marker. Although G418-resistant clones were recovered with both the NF-L and the NF-M constructs, only clones expressing immunofluorescently stainable amounts of NF-M were detected and established. Immunoelectron microscopic analysis revealed NF-M and vimentin proteins to be colocalized on the same intermediate filaments.

    Funded by: NEI NIH HHS: EY03849; NINDS NIH HHS: NS15182

    European journal of cell biology 1989;50;2;475-90

  • Binding of brain spectrin to the 70-kDa neurofilament subunit protein.

    Frappier T, Regnouf F and Pradel LA

    Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique, Paris, France.

    Brain spectrin, or fodrin, a major protein of the subaxolemmal cytoskeleton, associates specifically in in vitro assays with the 70-kDa neurofilament subunit (NF-L) and with glial filaments from pig spinal cord. As an initial approach to the identification of the fodrin-binding proteins, a crude preparation of neurofilaments was resolved by electrophoresis on SDS/polyacrylamide gels and then transferred to nitrocellulose paper, which was 'blotted' with 125I-fodrin. A significant binding of fodrin was observed on polypeptides of 70 kDa, 52 kDa and 20 kDa. These polypeptides were further purified and identified respectively as the NF-L subunit of neurofilaments, the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFP) and the myelin basic protein. The binding of fodrin to NF-L was reversible and concentration-dependent. The ability of the pure NF-L and GFP to form filaments was used to quantify their association with fodrin. a) The binding of fodrin to reassembled NF-L was saturable with a stoichiometry of 1 mol fodrin bound/50 +/- 10 mol NF-L and an apparent dissociation constant Kd = 4.3 x 10(-7) M. b) The binding involved the N-terminal domain of the polypeptide chain derived from the [2-(2-nitrophenylsulfenyl)-3-methyl-3'-bromoindolenine] cleavage of NF-L. c) Binding occurred optimally at physiological pH (6.8-7.2) and salt concentrations (50 mM). d) Interestingly, calmodulin, a Ca2+-binding protein, which has been shown to bind to fodrin, was found to reinforce the binding of fodrin to the NF-L, at Ca2+ physiological concentrations. The binding of fodrin to pure neurofilaments was not affected by the presence of the 200-kDa (NF-H) and the 160-kDa (NF-M) subunits. The apparent dissociation constant for the binding of fodrin to NF-L in the pure NF was 1.0 x 10(-6) M with 1 mol fodrin bound/80 +/- 10 mol NF-L. Moreover, the binding of fodrin to GFP, demonstrated in blot assays, was confirmed by cosedimentation experiments. The apparent dissociation constant Kd for the fodrin binding was 2.8 x 10(-7) M and the maximum binding was 1 mol fodrin/55 +/- 10 mol GFP.

    European journal of biochemistry 1987;169;3;651-7

  • The structure of a human neurofilament gene (NF-L): a unique exon-intron organization in the intermediate filament gene family.

    Julien JP, Grosveld F, Yazdanbaksh K, Flavell D, Meijer D and Mushynski W

    We have cloned and determined the nucleotide sequence of the human gene for the neurofilament subunit NF-L. The cloned DNA contains the entire transcriptional unit and generates two mRNAs of approx. 2.6 and 4.3 kb after transfection into mouse L-cells. The NF-L gene has an unexpected intron-exon organization in that it entirely lacks introns at positions found in other members of the intermediate filament gene family. It contains only three introns that do not define protein domains. We discuss possible evolutionary schemes that could explain these results.

    Biochimica et biophysica acta 1987;909;1;10-20

  • The human neurofilament gene (NEFL) is located on the short arm of chromosome 8.

    Hurst J, Flavell D, Julien JP, Meijer D, Mushynski W and Grosveld F

    We have localized the gene coding for the human neurofilament light chain (NEFL) to chromosome band 8p2.1 by Southern blotting of DNA from hybrid cell panels and in situ hybridization to metaphase chromosomes.

    Cytogenetics and cell genetics 1987;45;1;30-2

  • Highly acidic proteins from human brain: purification and properties of Glu-50 protein.

    Nomata Y, Watanabe T and Wada H

    Three extremely acidic proteins were isolated from human brain and purified to apparent homogeneity. One of them, Glu-50 protein, contained much glutamic acid (about 50% of the total amino acids). Its purification involved ammonium sulfate fractionation, DEAE-Sephadex A-50 chromatography, and gel filtration on Sephadex G-100 and G-75. Its molecular weight was determined to be 11,000 by SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and 34,000-36,000 by gel filtration on Sephadex G-75, suggesting that it consists of three identical polypeptide chains. Its isoelectric point was pH 3.9. Its N-terminal amino acid sequence was NH2-Asp-Glu-Pro-Pro-Asp-Glu and its C-terminal amino acid was Lys. It contained no detectable carbohydrate.

    Journal of biochemistry 1983;93;3;825-31

Gene lists (9)

Gene List Source Species Name Description Gene count
L00000009 G2C Homo sapiens Human PSD Human orthologues of mouse PSD adapted from Collins et al (2006) 1080
L00000015 G2C Homo sapiens Human NRC Human orthologues of mouse NRC adapted from Collins et al (2006) 186
L00000016 G2C Homo sapiens Human PSP Human orthologues of mouse PSP adapted from Collins et al (2006) 1121
L00000037 G2C Homo sapiens Pocklington H6 Human orthologues of cluster 6 (mouse) from Pocklington et al (2006) 5
L00000049 G2C Homo sapiens TAP-PSD-95-CORE TAP-PSD-95 pull-down core list (ortho) 120
L00000059 G2C Homo sapiens BAYES-COLLINS-HUMAN-PSD-CONSENSUS Human cortex PSD consensus 748
L00000061 G2C Homo sapiens BAYES-COLLINS-MOUSE-PSD-CONSENSUS Mouse cortex PSD consensus (ortho) 984
L00000069 G2C Homo sapiens BAYES-COLLINS-HUMAN-PSD-FULL Human cortex biopsy PSD full list 1461
L00000071 G2C Homo sapiens BAYES-COLLINS-MOUSE-PSD-FULL Mouse cortex PSD full list (ortho) 1556
© G2C 2014. The Genes to Cognition Programme received funding from The Wellcome Trust and the EU FP7 Framework Programmes:
EUROSPIN (FP7-HEALTH-241498), SynSys (FP7-HEALTH-242167) and GENCODYS (FP7-HEALTH-241995).

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