Expression of p67 (Munc-18), Cdk5, P-NFH and syntaxin during development of the rat cerebellum. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks), which regulate the cell division cycle, have also been found in postmitotic neurons. Cdk5, isolated from neural tissue, has been shown to phosphorylate neurofilaments (NFs). Instead of cyclins, however, other neuron-specific activators of cdk5 have been identified including a 67-kD protein (p67) which is identical to a syntaxin-binding protein (n-sec-1, Munc 18) that is thought to play a role in synaptic vesicle trafficking and transmitter release. These functions for p67 are not mutually exclusive since regulation of edk5 phosphorylation of cytoskeletal proteins may modulate axonal dynamics during growth, synaptogenesis and vesicle transport. To gain further insight into the role of p67 in neural tissue, we carried out a Western blot and immunohistochemical analysis of the developing rat cerebellum using antibodies to cdk5, p67, syntaxin and phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated neurofilaments. We assumed that spatiotemporal colocalizations of antigens might correlate with proposed functions for p67. The immunoblots showed that all antigens were developmentally regulated, and increased in expression from PN2 to the adult, with p67 and cdk5 showing a close temporal correlation. Immunohistochemically, p67 colocalized with cdk5 and P-NFH in selected fiber tracts, particularly those in the deep cerebellum. For the most part, p67 also showed strong colocalization patterns with syntaxin in regions of synaptogenesis throughout development such as the molecular layer and glomeruli of the inner nuclear layer. Finally, certain fiber tracts, the afferent fibers, climbing and mossy fibers and particularly the basket cell fibers that envelop and innervate Purkinje cell somata and dendrites, displayed colocalization of cdk5 and P-NFH without expressing any p67. Given the limitations of colocalization data in defining functional relationships, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that p67 is a multifunctional protein, its activity during cerebellum development dependent upon the neuronal phenotype, its location and its state of developmental maturation.

publication date

  • 1997