Neurofilaments and neurological disease

Departments of Neuroscience and Neurology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, UK.
BioEssays (Impact Factor: 4.73). 04/2003; 25(4):346-55. DOI: 10.1002/bies.10251
Source: PubMed


Neurofilaments are one of the major components of the neuronal cytoskeleton and are responsible for maintaining the calibre of axons. They are modified by post-translational changes that are regulated in complex fashions including by the interaction with neighbouring glial cells. Neurofilament accumulations are seen in several neurological diseases and neurofilament mutations have now been associated with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In this review, we discuss the structure, normal function and molecular pathology of neurofilaments.

7 Reads
  • Source
    • "Neurofilament medium molecular weight protein (NF-M) is a neuron-specific intermediate filament protein that heteropolymerizes with other immunologically distinct neurofilaments, NF-L and NF-H, and constitutes a major part of the neuronal cytoskeleton [28]. The three different NF proteins form filaments at different stoichiometries under different physiological conditions, and the resulting sidearm structures of the C-termini of the NF proteins along the core fiber can interact with different cytoskeletal components to establish axonal cytoarchitecture [29]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Perilla (Perilla frutescens) oil is very rich in α-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. As it is widely reported that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation improves cognitive function in children and adults, feeding rats with perilla diets followed by analysis of proteomic changes in the hippocampus can provide valuable information on the mechanism of learning and memory at the molecular level. To identify proteins playing roles in learning and memory, differentially expressed proteins in the hippocampus of the 5 week old rats fed perilla diets for 3 weeks or 3 months were identified by proteomic analysis and validated by immunological assays. Results The perilla diet groups showed improved spatial learning and memory performances in a T-maze test. They also displayed elevated level of 22:6n-3 fatty acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (p<0.05), in the brain compared to the control diet group. Quantitative proteomic analysis using 2-D gels as well as functional annotation grouping with the differentially expressed proteins in the hippocampus showed that those proteins involved in cytoskeleton and transport were the major differentially expressed proteins in the 3-week group, whereas those involved in energy metabolism, neuron projection and apoptosis in addition to cytoskeleton and transport were the major ones in the 3 month group. Differential protein expression in the hippocampus was validated by Western blotting using four selected proteins, known to be involved in synaptic plasticity; AMPA receptor, neurofilament, α-synuclein, and β-soluble NSF attachment protein. Brain sections from the perilla-diet groups showed enhanced immunoreactivities to α-synuclein and neurofilament. Especially, neurofilament immunoreactive cells manifested longer neurite projections in the hilus of dentate gyrus of the perilla-diet groups. Conclusion Improved cognitive function upon administration of n-3 fatty acid-rich perilla diet is associated with the differential expression of hippocampal proteins related to cytoskeleton, energy metabolism, transport, neuro-projection, and apoptosis. Particularly, the enhanced immunoreactivities to α-synuclein and neurofilament in the hilus of dentate gyrus suggest that perilla diet supplementation promotes neuronal signaling and alters synaptic plasticity for improved learning and memory.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Proteome Science
  • Source
    • "NEFM gene is often employed as a marker of neuronal differentiation [59]. NEF protein levels are correlative to neurite outgrowth, and its gene expression is dramatically altered in neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease [60]. NEF protein levels have also been suggested as a potential biomarker in organophosphorous neurotoxicity [36]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Okadaic acid (OA), a toxin produced by several dinoflagellate species is responsible for frequent food poisonings associated to shellfish consumption. Although several studies have documented the OA effects on different processes such as cell transformation, apoptosis, DNA repair or embryogenesis, the molecular mechanistic basis for these and other effects is not completely understood and the number of controversial data on OA is increasing in the literature. In this study, we used suppression subtractive hybridization in SHSY5Y cells to identify genes that are differentially expressed after OA exposure for different times (3, 24 and 48 h). A total of 247 subtracted clones which shared high homology with known genes were isolated. Among these, 5 specific genes associated with cytoskeleton and neurotransmission processes (NEFM, TUBB, SEPT7, SYT4 and NPY) were selected to confirm their expression levels by real-time PCR. Significant down-regulation of these genes was obtained at the short term (3 and 24 h OA exposure), excepting for NEFM, but their expression was similar to the controls at 48 h. From all the obtained genes, 114 genes were up-regulated and 133 were down-regulated. Based on the NCBI GenBank and Gene Ontology databases, most of these genes are involved in relevant cell functions such as metabolism, transport, translation, signal transduction and cell cycle. After quantitative PCR analysis, the observed underexpression of the selected genes could underlie the previously reported OA-induced cytoskeleton disruption, neurotransmission alterations and in vivo neurotoxic effects. The basal expression levels obtained at 48 h suggested that surviving cells were able to recover from OA-caused gene expression alterations.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · BMC Genomics
  • Source
    • "Proximal giant neurofilamentous axonopathy (PGNA) is an early pathological hallmark of a host of neurodegenerative diseases, including the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, of which the pathogenetic mechanisms remained unclear. Giant axons filled with 10nm-neurofilaments (NF) mostly develop at proximal sites of elongated motor axons (Delisle and Carpenter, 1984; Hirano et al., 1984; Okamoto et al., 1990; Al-Chalabi and Miller, 2003). These sites are enriched with the structural protein α-II spectrin (Spna2), reportedly critical for the neurobiology of axon pathfinding, neuronal plasticity, and maintenance of the cytoskeleton integrity through cycles of calpain-and caspase-mediated proteolysis (Simonovic et al., 2006; Meary et al., 2007). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We use 1,2-diacetylbenzene (1,2-DAB) to probe molecular mechanisms of proximal giant neurofilamentous axonopathy (PGNA), a pathological hallmark of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The spinal cord proteome of rodents displaying 1,2-DAB PGNA suggests a reduction in the abundance of α-II spectrin (Spna2), a key protein in the maintenance of axonal integrity. Protein immunoblotting indicates that this reduction is due to Spna2 degradation. We investigated the importance of such degradation in 1,2-DAB PGNA. Spna2 mutant mice lacking a calpain- and/or caspase-sensitive domain (CSD), thus hypothetically resistant to 1,2-DAB, and wild-type littermates, were treated with 1,2-DAB, 35 mg/kg/day, or saline control, for 3 weeks. 1,2-DAB induced motor weakness and PGNA, irrespective of the genotype. Spna2-calpain breakdown products were not detected in mutant mice, which displayed a normal structure of the nervous system under saline treatment. Intriguingly, treatment with 1,2-DAB reduced the abundance of the caspase-specific 120-kDa Spna2 breakdown products. Our findings indicate that degradation of Spna2 by calpain- and/or caspase is not central to the pathogenesis of 1,2-DAB axonopathy. In addition, the Spna2-CSD seems to be not required for the maintenance of the cytoskeleton integrity. Our conceptual framework offers opportunities to study the role of calpain-caspase cross talk, including that of the protease degradomics, in models of axonal degeneration.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of Molecular Neuroscience
Show more