Expression of NF-L in both neuronal and nonneuronal cells of transgenic mice: Increased neurofilament density in axons Without affecting caliber

Mervyn J. Monteiro, Paul N. Hoffman, John D. Gearhart, Don W. Cleveland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We have generated transgenic mice containing additional copies of the murine NF-L gene in order to examine the consequences of neurofilament-L overexpression on axonal morphology. Founder mice were constructed to carry a transgene in which the presumptive 5′ promoter sequences of NF-L were replaced with the strong murine sarcoma virus long terminal repeat promoter. The transgenes were expressed prominently in several tissues, including skeletal muscle and kidney where NF-L accumulated to ∼2% of cell protein. This was not accompanied by an overt phenotype, except that expression in lens led to cataract formation. In the brains of these animals, transgene RNA levels exceeded the endogenous NF-L RNAs by up to 20-fold, although no additional protein accumulated, indicating posttranscriptional regulation of NF-L expression. However, in peripheral neurons transgene RNA was approximately fourfold higher than endogenous NF-L mRNAs, and a corresponding increase in NF-L subunits was found in axons arising from these neurons. Myelinated nerve fibers of transgenic animals contained increased numbers of NFs, assembled predominantly of NF-L. This was reflected in an increase in the density of axonal NFs; axonal caliber was not affected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1557
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Volume111
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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