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Neurofilaments are essential for establishment and maintenance of axonal diameter of large myelinated axons, a property that determines the velocity of electrical signal conduction. One prominent model for how neurofilaments specify axonal growth is that the 660-amino acid, heavily phosphorylated tail domain of neurofilament heavy subunit (NF-H) is(More)
The COOH-terminal tail of mammalian neurofilament heavy subunit (NF-H), the largest neurofilament subunit, contains 44-51 lysine-serine-proline repeats that are nearly stoichiometrically phosphorylated after assembly into neurofilaments in axons. Phosphorylation of these repeats has been implicated in promotion of radial growth of axons, control of nearest(More)
The ultrastructural view of the axonal cytoskeleton as an extensively cross-linked network of neurofilaments (NFs) and other cytoskeletal polymers contrasts with the dynamic view suggested by axonal transport studies on cytoskeletal elements. Here we reconcile these perspectives by showing that neurons form a large NF network along axons which is(More)
Alpha-internexin, a neuronal intermediate filament protein implicated in neurodegenerative disease, coexists with the neurofilament (NF) triplet proteins (NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H) but has an unknown function. The earlier peak expression of alpha-internexin than the triplet during brain development and its ability to form homopolymers, unlike the triplet, which(More)
Neurofilament medium (NF-M) is essential for the acquisition of normal axonal caliber in response to a myelin-dependent "outside-in" trigger for radial axonal growth. Removal of the tail domain and lysine-serine-proline (KSP) repeats of NF-M, but not neurofilament heavy, produced axons with impaired radial growth and reduced conduction velocities. These(More)
The identification of molecular motors that modulate the neuronal cytoskeleton has been elusive. Here, we show that a molecular motor protein, myosin Va, is present in high proportions in the cytoskeleton of mouse CNS and peripheral nerves. Immunoelectron microscopy, coimmunoprecipitation, and blot overlay analyses demonstrate that myosin Va in axons(More)
Increased activity of calpains is implicated in synaptic dysfunction and neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease (AD). The molecular mechanisms responsible for increased calpain activity in AD are not known. Here, we demonstrate that disease progression is propelled by a marked depletion of the endogenous calpain inhibitor, calpastatin (CAST), from AD(More)
Neurofilament assembly requires at minimum the polymerization of neurofilament light chain (NF-L) with either neurofilament medium chain (NF-M) or neurofilament heavy chain (NF-H) subunits, but requirements for their axonal transport have long been controversial. Using a gene deletion approach, we generated mice containing only NF-L or NF-M. In vivo pulse(More)
Phosphorylation of the carboxyl tail domains of the neurofilament heavy (NF-H) and middle molecular weight (NF-M) subunits has been proposed to regulate the axonal transport of neurofilaments. To test this hypothesis, we recently constructed mice lacking the extensively phosphorylated NF-H tail domain (NF-HtailDelta) and showed that the transport rate of(More)
Neurofilaments (NFs) are intermediate filaments with a diameter of 10 nm, similar to that of neurons. Although they are present in perikarya and dendrites, neurofilaments are particularly abundant in axons, where they are essential for the radial growth of axons during development, the maintenance of axon caliber and the transmission of electrical impulses(More)