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

TOAD-64, a gene expressed early in neuronal differentiation in the rat, is related to unc-33, a C. elegans gene involved in axon outgrowth.

Using two-dimensional gel electrophoresis we previously identified membrane-associated proteins that are upregulated over the course of neurogenesis. One of these, TOAD-64 (Turned On After Division, 64 kDa), is expressed immediately after neuronal birth and is dramatically downregulated in the adult. The gene encoding TOAD-64 has now been cloned, and its sequence shows homology to the unc-33 gene from C. elegans, mutations in which lead to aberrations in axon outgrowth. Northern and in situ hybridization show that TOAD-64 mRNA is enriched in the nervous system and is developmentally regulated in parallel with the protein. The expression of the TOAD-64 protein and gene coincident with initial neuronal differentiation and the downregulation when the majority of axon growth is complete suggests a role in axon elaboration. Three additional lines of evidence support this possibility: TOAD-64 is upregulated following neuronal induction of P19 and PC12 cells; the protein is found in lamellipodia and filopodia of growth cones; and axotomy of the sciatic nerve induces reexpression. While the sequence of TOAD-64 lacks a signal sequence and therefore is likely to encode a cytoplasmic protein, biochemical experiments demonstrate that the protein is tightly, but noncovalently, associated with membranes. The data presented here suggest that TOAD-64 could be a central element in the machinery underlying axonal outgrowth and pathfinding, perhaps playing a role in the signal transduction processes that permit growing axons to choose correct routes and targets.[1]


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