Previous studies have shown that patients with the axonal form of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) develop autoantibodies against GM1 ganglioside (GM1). Nerve growth factor (NGF) is essential for neuronal survival in vivo and its functional receptor is Trk-tyrosine kinase. Here, we examined the biological effects of sera from patients with the axonal form of GBS on the morphology and the phosphorylation state of Trk-tyrosine kinase in PC12 cells. Furthermore, we examined the effect of the sera on the integrity of membrane lipid rafts biochemically. The data show that anti-GM1 antibodies found in patients' sera but not control sera inhibit NGF-induced Trk autophosphorylation. Most intriguingly, the autoantibodies alter the distribution of Trk in lipid rafts without shifting the distribution of a rafts marker protein. These data strongly suggest that anti-GM1 antibodies directly influence the integrity of the signaling platform, lipid rafts, implicating the importance of lipid rafts in the development of this disorder.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes