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Open Access Research article

Tracing Myelin Protein Zero (P0) in vivo by construction of P0-GFP fusion proteins

Arif B Ekici1, Sevinc Oezbey1, Christina Fuchs1, Eva Nelis2, Christine Van Broeckhoven2, Melitta Schachner3 and Bernd Rautenstrauss1*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Human Genetics, Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen, Germany

2 Molecular Genetics Laboratory (VIB-08), University of Antwerp, Antwerpen, Belgium

3 Zentrum fuer Molekulare Neurobiologie, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

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BMC Cell Biology 2002, 3:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-3-29

Published: 26 November 2002

Abstract

Background

Mutations in P0, the major protein of the myelin sheath in peripheral nerves, cause the inherited peripheral neuropathies Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1B (CMT1B), Dejerine-Sottas syndrome (DSS) and congenital hypomyelination (CH). We reported earlier a de novo insertional mutation c.662_663GC (Ala221fs) in a DSS patient. The c.662_663GC insertion results in a frame shift mutation Ala221fs altering the C-terminal amino acid sequence. The adhesion-relevant intracellular RSTK domain is replaced by a sequence similar to Na+/K+ ATPase. To further clarify the molecular disease mechanisms in this sporadic patient we constructed wild type P0 and the c.662_663GC mutant expression cassettes by site-specific mutagenesis and transfected the constructs into insect cells (S2, High5). To trace the effects in live cells, green fluorescent protein (GFP) has been added to the carboxyterminus of the wild type and mutated P0 protein.

Results

In contrast to the membrane-localized wild type P0-GFP the Ala221fs P0-GFP protein was detectable almost only in the cytoplasm of the cells, and a complete loss of adhesion function was observed.

Conclusions

The present study provides evidence that GFP is a versatile tool to trace in vivo effects of P0 and its mutations. Not only a loss of adhesion function as a result of the loss of the RSTK domain, but also altered intracellular trafficking indicated by a loss of membrane insertion are possible consequences of the Ala221fs mutation.