AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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A New Player Revealed in Nerve Growth Process

Role of adapter protein CD2AP in neuron sprouting discovered by University of Louisville researchers could lead to therapies for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke recovery and spinal cord injury 

A protein that has been known for its function and role in kidneys may also play a significant role in the nervous system. This protein is known as CD2AP and is classified as an adapter protein. Benjamin Harrison, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology and lead author of this study, and his colleagues have been able to show that this protein orchestrates a complex arrangement of other proteins that control the branching out of nerve axons, the tendrils reaching out from the nerve cell to connect to other nerve cells, skin and organs. This growth occurs in nerve cells that have not been damaged and allows for them to extend their reach and create new connections.” CD2AP brings in all the correct players, forms a multi-protein complex and coordinates that multi-protein complex to achieve growth of the neurons,” Harrison said. “There are a whole bunch of proteins that it could bring together, but it only brings together the correct proteins to create the correct response. In this case, it changes the structure of the axons through sprouting and elongation.” To read more on this study, click here.

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