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Cytokine control of neuronal phenotype


Fann, Ming-Ji (1994) Cytokine control of neuronal phenotype. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/2rm0-fg46.


Diffusible proteins regulate neural development at a variety of stages. Using a novel neuronal culture assay, I have identified several cytokines that regulate the expression of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides in sympathetic neurons. These cytokines fall into two families. The first group is termed the neuropoietic cytokines, while including CDF/LIF, CNTF, OSM and GPA, induces expression of the same set of neuropeptide mRNAs in cultured sympathetic neurons. These four factors not only exhibit similar biological activities; they also share a predicted secondary structure and bind to a signal-transducing receptor subunit in common with IL-6 and IL-11. The latter two cytokines display a weaker activity in this assay. In addition, I find that several members of the TGF-β superfamily, activin A, BMP-2, and BMP-6, have a selective overlap with the neuropoietic family in the spectrum of neuropeptides that these cytokines induce in sympathetic neurons. Different patterns of neuropeptides induced by the TGF-β family members, however, demonstrate that the activities of these cytokines are distinct from those of the neuropoietic family. Another 30 cytokines are without detectable effect in this neuronal assay.

Activin A induces a set of neurotransmitters and neuropeptides that is somewhat similar to the phenotype of sympathetic neurons innervating sweat glands in rat footpads. In situ hybridization and RNase protection were carried out to test whether activins were involved in the phenotypic transition when sympathetic neurons contact sweat glands. I find that activin mRNA is present in both cholinergic and noradrenergic targets. Moreover, homogenates of footpads do not contain activin-like activity in the neuronal assay in vitro. Taken together, these data do not support activins as the best candidates for the sweat gland factor.

Several novel factors that regulate neuropeptide expression exist in heart cell conditioned medium. I attempted to purify these factors in collaboration with Dr. Jane Talvenheimo. Our results suggest that these factors are sensitive to the storage conditions used. Several modifications of purification strategy are discussed.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Patterson, Paul H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Anderson, David J.
  • Davidson, Norman R.
  • Sternberg, Paul W.
  • Zinn, Kai George
Defense Date:12 May 1994
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:04292013-154555817
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7645
Deposited On:29 Apr 2013 23:11
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:19

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