Neurochemical Research

, Volume 9, Issue 10, pp 1493–1507 | Cite as

Metabolic studies in vitro of the CNS cytoskeletal proteins: Synthesis and degradation

  • Marion E. Smith
  • Virginia Perret
  • Lawrence F. Eng


General aspects of metabolic features of the most prominent CNS intermediate filament proteins, the 200,000 (200K), 150,000 (150K), and 70,000 (70K) dalton proteins of the neuron, and the glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) have been explored using the incubated spinal cord slice from the rat. Measurement of shortterm uptake of3H-labeled amino acids into the individual proteins separated on polyacrylamide gels revealed that of the three neurofilament proteins, 200K was most metabolically active, 150K was less active, and 70K contained very little incorporated radioactivity. Glial fibrillary acidic protein based on Coomassie blue stain affinity showed less metabolic activity than any of the neurofilament proteins. Those relationships were constant at all ages, but the metabolic activity of all CNS intermediate filaments decreased with age. When Ca2+ was present in the medium of the incubated slices, the intermediate filaments were rapidly destroyed, but GFAP was more resistant to degradation than the neurofilament proteins. GFAP and probably the neurofilament proteins also were relatively resistant to Ca2+-activated degradative mechanisms in spinal cords of rats at younger ages (15 day) than in those of older animals (10–18 months). It is likely that the Ca2+ activated protease is less active in developing animals in which the nerve tracts are still elongating, than in adults. These results suggest that GFAP is less active metabolically and more resistant to degradation than the neurofilament proteins at all stages of maturation, but that metabolic activity of all CNS intermediate filaments decreases with age while the susceptibility to degradation increases.


Spinal Cord Metabolic Activity Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein Coomassie Intermediate Filament 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marion E. Smith
    • 1
    • 2
  • Virginia Perret
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lawrence F. Eng
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of Neurology and PathologyVeterans Administration Medical CenterPalo Alto
  2. 2.Stanford University School of MedicineStanford

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