A new role for angiogenin in neurite growth and pathfinding: implications for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

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Mutations in human angiogenin (hANG), an angiogenic member of the RNase A superfamily, have been recently reported in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive late-onset neurodegenerative disorder. However, very little is known about the expression and subcellular distribution of ANG in the nervous system or its role in differentiation. Here we report that mouse angiogenin-1 (mAng-1) is strongly expressed in the developing nervous system during mouse embryogenesis and neuroectodermal differentiation of pluripotent P19 embryonal carcinoma cells. mAng1 is strongly expressed in motor neurons (MNs) in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia as well as in post-mitotic MNs derived from P19 cells. We also show for the first time that ANG expression is in the growth cones and neurites. NCI 65828, an inhibitor of the ribonucleolytic activity of hANG, affected pathfinding by P19-derived neurons but not neuronal differentiation. Our findings clearly show that ANG plays an important role in neurite pathfinding and this has implications for ALS.

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