Distinctive Features of Nerve Growth Factor: Structure, and Function

  • M. V. Chao

Abstract

During development of the nervous system, a variety of genetic and epigenetic factors are known to determine the survival and maintenance of selective neuronal populations. Nerve growth factor (NGF) still serves as the only example of a neurotrophic factor whose physiological role is firmly established. Although the the actions of NGF were originally thought to be restricted to the sympathetic and neural crest derived sensory neurons, it is clear that effects of NGF extend to the central nervous system and beyond. For example, cholinergic neurons in the basal forebrain not only bind and internalize NGF but respond with the induction of choline acetyltransferase (for reviews see Korsching 1986; Thoenen et al. 1987). Furthermore, the detection of NGF and NGF receptors in nonneuronal regions such as testis (Ayer-LeLievre et al. 1988) muscle (Raivich et al. 1985) and the minune system (Ernfors et al. 1988) and of NGF proliferative effects on mast cells (Aloe and Levi-Montalcini 1977; Matsuda et al. 1988) suggests that NGF possesses a far broader range of actions than previously believed.

Keywords

Codon Cysteine Dexamethasone Glucocorticoid Tryptophan 

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  • M. V. Chao

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