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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Characterization of mammalian neurofilament triplet proteins. Subunit stoichiometry and morphology of native and reconstituted filaments.

The three major proteins of mammalian neurofilaments of molecular weights 179,000 (NF1), 129,000 (NF2), and 66,500 (NF3) have been purified to homogeneity by multiple anion-exchange and hydroxylapatite absorption chromatography in 8 M urea. Silver staining of polyacrylamide gels of the purified proteins show single bands. In order to gain further insight into the molecular organization of the neurofilament triplet proteins, the molar stoichiometries and morphologies of native and reconstituted filaments and those isolated from developing brain were studied. Denaturing polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis followed by quantitative dye-binding analysis shows that the molar ratio of the three components in neurofilaments isolated from bovine spinal cord myelinated nerve is 4:2:1 (NF3:NF2:NF1). Comparison of the molar ratios of each component in neurofilaments isolated from rat, bovine, and human brain shows a variation in the ratio of each of these polypeptides and raises questions about the physiological uniqueness of the molar composition of the neurofilament triplet. Reconstitution of the three bovine polypeptides into 10-nm filaments was accomplished under conditions in which the NF3 protein was limiting. Reassembly of 10-nm filaments with varying amounts of NF2 and NF1 indicate that the NF3 homopolymer has a limiting capacity to bind NF2 and NF1 and is saturated at a molar ratio of 2:2:1 (NF3:NF2:NF1). Isolation of the neurofilament complex at various stages of rat brain maturation indicates that NF3 and NF2 are integrated into the neurofilament complex as early as embryonic day 17, while NF1 copurifies with these proteins at postnatal day 16, eventually reaching a molar stoichiometry of 2:2:1 in the adult rat. The molecular stoichiometry of the neurofilament proteins, the differential integration of these proteins during brain development, and the variation of the molar composition between mammalian species suggest accessory roles for the NF2 and NF1 proteins in the neurofilament complex.[1]


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