Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) signals through multisubunit receptor complex consisting of RET tyrosine kinase and a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored coreceptor called GDNF family receptor α1 (GFRα1). In the current study, we cloned a human SEP1 gene as a GDNF-inducible gene using human neuroblastoma cells that express RET and GFRα1. The induction of the SEP1 gene showed two peaks at 0.5-2 h and 24-48 h after GDNF stimulation by Northern blotting and quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The late induction was also confirmed at protein levels by Western blotting with anti-SEP1 antibody. Immunostaining revealed that the expression of the SEP1 protein was detected in cell body, elongated neurites and growth cone-like structure of neuroblastoma cells treated with GDNF. In addition, we found a high level of SEP1 expression in neurons of the dorsal root and superior cervical ganglia and motor neurons of the spinal cord of mice in which RET is also expressed. SEP1 was co-immunoprecipitated with α- and β-tubulins from the lysate of mouse brain. These results thus suggested that SEP1 is a GDNF-inducible and microtubule-associated protein that may play a role in the nervous system.
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