Developmental regulation of neural cell adhesion molecule in human prefrontal cortex.
Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is a membrane-bound cell recognition molecule that exerts important functions in normal neurodevelopment including cell migration, neurite outgrowth, axon fasciculation, and synaptic plasticity. Alternative splicing of NCAM mRNA generates three main protein isoforms: NCAM-180, -140, and -120. Ectodomain shedding of NCAM isoforms can produce an extracellular 105-115 kilodalton soluble neural cell adhesion molecule fragment (NCAM-EC) and a smaller intracellular cytoplasmic fragment (NCAM-IC). NCAM also undergoes a unique post-translational modification in brain by the addition of polysialic acid (PSA)-NCAM. Interestingly, both PSA-NCAM and NCAM-EC have been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. The developmental expression patterns of the main NCAM isoforms and PSA-NCAM have been described in rodent brain, but no studies have examined NCAM expression across human cortical development. Western blotting was used to quantify NCAM in human postmortem prefrontal cortex in 42 individuals ranging in age from mid-gestation to early adulthood. Each NCAM isoform (NCAM-180, -140, and -120), post-translational modification (PSA-NCAM) and cleavage fragment (NCAM-EC and NCAM-IC) demonstrated developmental regulation in frontal cortex. NCAM-180, -140, and -120, as well as PSA-NCAM, and NCAM-IC all showed strong developmental regulation during fetal and early postnatal ages, consistent with their identified roles in axon growth and plasticity. NCAM-EC demonstrated a more gradual increase from the early postnatal period to reach a plateau by early adolescence, potentially implicating involvement in later developmental processes. In summary, this study implicates the major NCAM isoforms, PSA-NCAM and proteolytically cleaved NCAM in pre- and postnatal development of the human prefrontal cortex. These data provide new insights on human cortical development and also provide a basis for how altered NCAM signaling during specific developmental intervals could affect synaptic connectivity and circuit formation, and thereby contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders.
Cox, ET; Brennaman, LH; Gable, KL; Hamer, RM; Glantz, LA; Lamantia, A-S; Lieberman, JA; Gilmore, JH; Maness, PF; Jarskog, LF
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