Molecular cloning and expression regulation of PRG-3, a new member of the plasticity-related gene family


: Dr Nicolai E. Savaskan, Molecular Laboratory, Oskar-Hertwig-House, Center for Anatomy, as above.


Phospholipid-mediated signalling on neurons provokes diverse responses such as neurogenesis, pattern formation and neurite remodelling. We have recently uncovered a novel set of molecules in the mammalian brain, named plasticity-related genes (PRGs), which mediate lipid phosphate phosphatase activity and provide evidence for their involvement in mechanisms of neuronal plasticity. Here, we report on a new member of the vertebrate-specific PRG family, which we have named plasticity-related gene-3 (PRG-3). PRG-3 is heavily expressed in the brain and shows a specific expression pattern during brain development where PRG-3 expression is found predominantly in neuronal cell layers and is already expressed at embryonic day 16. In the mature brain, strongest PRG-3 expression occurs in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Overexcitation of neurons induced by kainic acid leads to a transient down-regulation of PRG-3. Furthermore, PRG-3 is expressed on neurite extensions and promotes neurite growth and a spreading-like cell body in neuronal cells and COS-7 cells. In contrast to previously described members of the PRG family, PRG-3 does not perform its function through enzymatic phospholipid degradation. In summary, our findings feature a new member of the PRG family which shows dynamic expression regulation during brain development and neuronal excitation.