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Keywords:

  • G-protein;
  • KDI;
  • laminin-1;
  • neurite outgrowth;
  • neurotoxicity

Abstract

A neurite outgrowth domain of the γ1-chain of laminin-1 (RDIAEIIKDI) promotes axon guidance of rat hippocampal neurons, regulates the nuclear movement phase of neuronal migration, and binds to the cellular prion protein (Liesi et al. [1995] J. Neurosci. Res. 134:447–486; Matsuzawa et al. [1998] J. Neurosci. Res. 53:114–124; Graner et al. [2000] Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. 76:85–92). Using electrophysiology and neuronal culture experiments, we show that this 10 amino acid peptide or its smaller domains induces potassium currents in primary central neurons. Both these currents and the neurotoxicity of high concentrations of the 10 amino acid peptide antigen are prevented by pertussis toxin. The smallest peptide domain capable of inducing both potassium currents and promoting neurite outgrowth of human spinal cord neurons is a tri-peptide KDI. Our results indicate that KDI may be the biologically active domain of the γ1 laminin, capable of modulating electrical activity and survival of central neurons via a G-protein coupled mechanism. These results expand the wide variety of functions already reported for the members of the laminin-gene family. They suggest that biologically active peptide domains of the γ1 laminin may provide tools to promote neuronal regeneration after injuries and to enhance neuronal survival during aging and neuronal degeneration. J Neurosci. Res. 66:1047–1053, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.