Loss of function mutations at the NF1 locus may act intrinsically in Schwann cells to cause the formation of benign Schwann cell tumors (neurofibromas) in patients with type 1 neurofibromatosis. To identify contexts in Schwann cells in which such mutations may play an important role, we measured the levels of NF1 mRNA and neurofibromin in rat sciatic nerve during development, after axotomy, and in cultured rat Schwann cells. NF1 mRNA was present in developing sciatic nerve throughout the period of active Schwann cell proliferation and myelination. After nerve transection, no alteration in NF1 message level was detected, but neurofibromin levels increased, as assessed by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting, suggesting that, in vivo, neurofibromin expression in Schwann cells is post‐transcriptionally induced during Wallerian degeneration. Cultured rat Schwann cells constitutively expressed NF1 mRNA and neurofibromin. Schwann cell proliferation induced by exposure to serum and forskolin was not associated with changes in NF1 mRNA or neurofibromin expression, whereas Schwann cell proliferation induced by extracts of embryonic brain membranes was associated with increased NF1 message and neurofibromin expression. Thus, Schwann cells, both in vivo and in vitro, express NF1 mRNA constitutively; the expression of NF1 mRNA and neurofibromin is modulated by only some mitogenic stimuli in Schwann cells. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- GTPase‐activating protein
- Wallerian degeneration