Studies of Protein F1 (GAP-43) Expression and Function in Spinal Neuronal Cultures




El-Badawy, Hassan M.E. Azzazy


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El-Badawy, Hassan M. E. Azzazy, Studies of Protein F1 (GAP-43) Expression and Function in Spinal Neuronal Cultures. Doctor of Philosophy (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), August 1994, 167 pp., 32 illustrations, References, 194 titles. Protein F1 (GAP-43, B-50, neuromodulin) is a membrane-bound phosphoprotein that has been studied mainly in neurons and is implicated in synaptic plasticity, axonal growth and regeneration, and neurotransmitter release. In this study, a 21 amino acid polypeptide that corresponds to the C-terminus sequence of protein F1 and contains a potential PKC phosphorylation sequence (SXR) was synthesized. The synthetic peptide was phosphorylated by rat PKC in a concentration-dependent manner suggesting that this site in the intact protein may be phosphorylated by PKC in vivo. Polyclonal antibodies against the peptide were produced in a rabbit and used to: (i) recognize native non-phosphorylated protein F1 purified from rat brain, (ii) immunoprecipitate phosphorylated protein F1, and (iii) stain the cell bodies and neuritis of cultured neurons. Electron microscopic studies revealed intracellular protein F1 immunoreactivity but no specific subcellular association of the gold label could be demonstrated. The antibodies were also used to compare protein F1 levels during the development of spinal neurons in culture and in vivo. The highest levels of protein F1 were detected by ELISA, at 2 days in culture. These results are in accordance with previous reports that correlate high expression of protein F1 to neurite outgrowth. In vivo, however, protein F1 reached maximal level at one day after parturition. Two approaches were utilized to investigate the potential physiological functions of protein F1 in spinal neurons networks. First, interaction of positively charged, rhodamine-labeled liposomes with spinal neurons was characterized by fluorescence microscopy and electrophysiological recording. Uniform, non-toxic, and preferential interaction of liposomes with spinal neurons over glia was established. These liposomes were used to deliver anti-protein F1 antibodies into spinal neurons but did not affect neurite formation by these cells. Second, antisense oligodeoxynucleotides internalized into spinal neurons in order to interfere with protein F1 expression had no effect on the development of these cells in culture. Data from this study suggest that Ser-210 at the C-terminus of protein F1 may be a substrate for PKC phosphorylation in vivo. Antibodies raised against F1 peptide revealed protein F1 immunoreactivity that outlined cell bodies and neuritis of cultured spinal neurons. Positively charged liposomes were characterized as a potential delivery system for macromolecules into spinal neurons. Protein F1 levels were shown to be developmentally regulated in mouse spinal neurons in culture and in vivo. Finally, the use of antisense oligodeoxynucleotides against protein F1 mRNA revealed that protein F1 may not be essential for neurite outgrowth of mouse spinal neurons in culture.