Neurturin and persephin are recently discovered homologs of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF). Here, we report that neurturin, like GDNF, increases the choline acetyltransferase activity of normal postnatal motor neurons, induces neurite outgrowth in spinal cord, and potently protects motor neurons from chronic glutamate-mediated degeneration. Persephin, in contrast, does not appear to have neurotrophic or neurite- promoting effects on mature motor neurons and may instead worsen the glutamate injury of motor neurons. This pattern in the TGF-β family suggests certain receptor specificities, requiring at least the Ret/GFRα-1 receptor complex. The results predict potential benefit of neurturin, but not persephin, in the treatment of motor neuron disorders and spinal cord diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology