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Journal of comparative neurology v.368 no.4, 1996년, pp.569 - 581  

Neurofilament spacing, phosphorylation, and axon diameter in regenerating and uninjured lamprey axons.

Pijak, D S Hall, G F Tenicki, P J Boulos, A S Lurie, D I Selzer, M E
  • 초록  

    It has been postulated that phosphorylation of the carboxy terminus sidearms of neurofilaments (NFs) increases axon diameter through repulsive electrostatic forces that increase sidearm extension and interfilament spacing. To evaluate this hypothesis, the relationships among NF phosphorylation, NF spacing, and axon diameter were examined in uninjured and spinal cord-transected larval sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). In untransected animals, axon diameters in the spinal cord varied from 0.5 to 50 microns. Antibodies specific for highly phosphorylated NFs labeled only large axons (> 10 microns), whereas antibodies for lightly phosphorylated NFs labeled medium-sized and small axons more darkly than large axons. For most axons in untransected animals, diameter was inversely related to NF packing density, but the interfilament distances of the largest axons were only 1.5 times those of the smallest axons. In addition, the lightly phosphorylated NFs of the small axons in the dorsal columns were widely spaced, suggesting that phosphorylation of NFs does not rigidly determine their spacing and that NF spacing does not rigidly determine axon diameter. Regenerating neurites of giant reticulospinal axons (GRAs) have diameters only 5-10% of those of their parent axons. If axon caliber is controlled by NF phosphorylation via mutual electrostatic repulsion, then NFs in the slender regenerating neurites should be lightly phosphorylated and densely packed (similar to NFs in uninjured small caliber axons), whereas NFs in the parent GRAs should be highly phosphorylated and loosely packed. However, although linear density of NFs (the number of NFs per micrometer) in these slender regenerating neurites was twice that in their parent axons, they were highly phosphorylated. Following sectioning of these same axons close to the cell body, axon-like neurites regenerated ectopically from dendritic tips. These ectopically regenerating neurites had NF linear densities 2.5 times those of uncut GRAs but were also highly phosphorylated. Thus, in the lamprey, NF phosphorylation may not control axon diameter directly through electrorepulsive charges that increase NF sidearm extension and NF spacing. It is possible that phosphorylation of NFs normally influences axon diameter through indirect mechanisms, such as the slowing of NF transport and the formation of a stationary cytoskeletal lattice, as has been proposed by others. Such a mechanism could be overridden during regeneration, when a more compact, phosphorylated NF backbone might add mechanical stiffness that promotes the advance of the neurite tip within a restricted central nervous system environment.


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