Regulation of neurofilament L, M and H gene expression during retinoic acid-induced neural differentiation of P19 embryonal carcinoma cells

G D Paterno, L L Gillespie, J P Julien, D Skup
Brain Research. Molecular Brain Research 1997 October 3, 49 (1-2): 247-54
We have investigated the regulation of neurofilament gene expression during retinoic acid (RA)-induced neural differentiation of P19 embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated that P19 EC cells contain significant levels of NF-L protein in the insoluble fraction but undetectable levels of NF-M and NF-H protein in either the insoluble or total cell fractions. However, immunocytochemical detection of NF-L protein in P19 EC cells showed diffuse staining within the majority of cells, rather than association with intermediate filament-like structures or staining within a subpopulation of differentiated neurons. Detectable levels of both NF-L and NF-M mRNA were present in P19 EC cells whereas NF-H mRNA remained below levels of detection, even by RT-PCR analysis. When RA-treated aggregates of P19 cells were cultured under conditions permissive for neurite outgrowth, we observed a significant increase in the amount of detectable NF-L protein localized within morphologically distinct neurons. Differentiation was also accompanied by the appearance of both the NF-M and NF-H subunits. Northern analysis revealed that this differentiation was accompanied by coincident increase in the steady-state levels of the mRNA for all three subunits and that the temporal pattern of increase was similar to what has been observed in the fetal and neonatal brain. The increase in NF-L and NF-M mRNA levels were accompanied by a concomitant increase in the rate of transcription, however, our results suggest that additional post-transcriptional mechanisms may be involved in regulating NF gene expression during the differentiation of pluripotent P19 cells.

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