Peptide ligands have played an important role in tumor-targeted drug delivery as targeting moieties. The in vivo fate of peptide-mediated drug delivery systems and the following antitumor effects may greatly depend on the stability of the peptide ligand. In the current study, a tumor-targeting cyclic peptide screened by phage display, Lyp-1 (a peptide that specifically binds to tumor and endothelial cells of tumor lymphatics in certain tumors), was structurally modified by replacement of the original intramolecular disulfide bond with a diseleno bond. The produced analog Syp-1 (seleno derivative of Lyp-1) maintained specific binding ability to the target protein p32 (Kd = 18.54 nM), which is similar to that of Lyp-1 (Kd = 10.59 nM), indicated by surface plasmon resonance assay. Compared with Lyp-1, Syp-1 showed significantly improved stability against serum. After the peptide attached onto the surface of fluorophore-encapsulating liposomes, the more efficient tumor uptake of liposomal fluorophore mediated by Syp-1 was observed. Furthermore, Syp-1 modified liposomal doxorubicin presented the most potent tumor growth inhibitory ability among all the therapeutic groups, with a low half maximal inhibitory concentration of 588 nM against MDA-MB-435 cells in vitro and a high tumor inhibition rate of 73.5% in vivo. These findings clearly indicated that Syp-1 was a stable and effective tumor targeting ligand and suggest that the sulfur-to-selenium replacement strategy may help stabilize the phage-displayed cyclic peptide containing disulfide-bond under physiological conditions and strongly support the validity of peptide-mediated drug targeting.
tumor targeting; liposome; cyclic peptide; selenopeptide
Our laboratory once reported that neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) S-nitrosylation was decreased in rat hippocampus during cerebral ischemia-reperfusion, but the underlying mechanism was unclear. In this study, we show that nNOS activity is dynamically regulated by S-nitrosylation. We found that overexpressed nNOS in HEK293 (human embryonic kidney) cells could be S-nitrosylated by exogenous NO donor GSNO and which is associated with the enzyme activity decrease. Cys331, one of the zinc-tetrathiolate cysteines, was identified as the key site of nNOS S-nitrosylation. In addition, we also found that nNOS is highly S-nitrosylated in resting rat hippocampal neurons and the enzyme undergos denitrosylation during the process of rat brain ischemia/reperfusion. Intrestingly, the process of nNOS denitrosylation is coupling with the decrease of nNOS phosphorylation at Ser847, a site associated with nNOS activation. Further more, we document that nNOS denitrosylation could be suppressed by pretreatment of neurons with MK801, an antagonist of NMDAR, GSNO, EGTA, BAPTA, W-7, an inhibitor of calmodulin as well as TrxR1 antisense oligonucleotide (AS-ODN) respectively. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the denitrosylation of nNOS induced by calcium ion influx is a NMDAR-dependent process during the early stage of ischemia/reperfusion, which is majorly mediated by thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) system. nNOS dephosphorylation may be induced by the enzyme denitrosylation, which suggest that S-nitrosylation/denitrosylation of nNOS may be an important mechanism in regulating the enzyme activity.
We investigated flexible liposomes as a potential oral drug delivery system. However, enhanced membrane fluidity and structural deformability may necessitate liposomal surface modification when facing the harsh environment of the gastrointestinal tract. In the present study, silica-coated flexible liposomes loaded with curcumin (CUR-SLs) having poor water solubility as a model drug were prepared by a thin-film method with homogenization, followed by the formation of a silica shell by the sol-gel process. We systematically investigated the physical properties, drug release behavior, pharmacodynamics, and bioavailability of CUR-SLs. CUR-SLs had a mean diameter of 157 nm and a polydispersity index of 0.14, while the apparent entrapment efficiency was 90.62%. Compared with curcumin-loaded flexible liposomes (CUR-FLs) without silica-coatings, CUR-SLs had significantly higher stability against artificial gastric fluid and showed more sustained drug release in artificial intestinal fluid as determined by in vitro release assays. The bioavailability of CUR-SLs and CUR-FLs was 7.76- and 2.35-fold higher, respectively, than that of curcumin suspensions. Silica coating markedly improved the stability of flexible liposomes, and CUR-SLs exhibited a 3.31-fold increase in bioavailability compared with CUR-FLs, indicating that silica-coated flexible liposomes may be employed as a potential carrier to deliver drugs with poor water solubility via the oral route with improved bioavailability.
silica; flexible liposome; oral bioavailability; curcumin
Down syndrome (DS) is caused by triplication of Human chromosome 21 (Hsa21) and associated with an array of deleterious phenotypes, including mental retardation, heart defects and immunodeficiency. Genome-wide expression patterns of uncultured peripheral blood cells are useful to understanding of DS-associated immune dysfunction. We used a Human Exon microarray to characterize gene expression in uncultured peripheral blood cells derived from DS individuals and age-matched controls from two age groups: neonate (N) and child (C). A total of 174 transcript clusters (gene-level) with eight located on Hsa21 in N group and 383 transcript clusters including 56 on Hsa21 in C group were significantly dysregulated in DS individuals. Microarray data were validated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Functional analysis revealed that the dysregulated genes in DS were significantly enriched in two and six KEGG pathways in N and C group, respectively. These pathways included leukocyte trans-endothelial migration, B cell receptor signaling pathway and primary immunodeficiency, etc., which causally implicated dysfunctional immunity in DS. Our results provided a comprehensive picture of gene expression patterns in DS at the two developmental stages and pointed towards candidate genes and molecular pathways potentially associated with the immune dysfunction in DS.
Mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) occur in most grade 2 and 3 gliomas, secondary glioblastomas, and a subset of acute myelogenous leukemias, but have not been detected in other tumor types. The mutations occur at specific arginine residues, and result in the acquisition of a novel enzymatic activity that converts 2-oxoglutarate to D-2-hydroxyglutarate. This study reports IDH1 and IDH2 genotyping results from a set of lymphomas which included a large set of peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL). IDH2 mutations were identified in approximately 20% of angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphomas (AITL), but not in other PTCL entities. These results were confirmed in an independent set of AITL patients, where the IDH2 mutation rate was approximately 45%. This is the second common genetic lesion identified in AITL after TET2, and extends the number of neoplastic diseases where IDH1 and IDH2 mutations may play a role.
Aged; Female; Gene Frequency; Genotype; Humans; Immunoblastic Lymphadenopathy; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Isocitrate Dehydrogenase; genetics; Kaplan-Meier Estimate; Lymphoma, T-Cell; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Lymphoma, T-Cell, Peripheral; enzymology; genetics; pathology; Male; Mutation; Mutation Rate; Prognosis
We previously demonstrated that oscillatory fluid flow activates MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cell calcium signaling pathways via a mechanism involving ATP releases and P2Y2 puringeric receptors. However, the molecular mechanisms by which fluid flow initiates cellular responses are still unclear. Accumulating evidence suggests that lipid rafts, one of the important membrane structural components, may play an important role in transducing extracellular fluid shear stress to intracellular responses. Due to the limitations of current techniques, there is no direct approach to study the role of lipid rafts in transmitting fluid shear stress. In this study, we targeted two important membrane components associated with lipid rafts, cholesterol and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins, to disrupt the integrity of cell membrane structures. We first demonstrated that membrane cholesterol depletion with the treatment of methyl-β-cyclodextrin inhibits oscillatory fluid flow induced intracellular calcium mobilization and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Secondly, we used a novel approach to decrease the levels of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored proteins on cell membranes by overexpressing glycosylphosphatidylinositol specific phospholipase D in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. This resulted in significant inhibition of intracellular calcium mobilization and ERK1/2 phosphorylation in response to oscillatory fluid flow. Finally, we demonstrated that cholesterol depletion inhibited oscillatory fluid flow induced ATP releases, which were responsible for the activation of calcium signaling pathways in MC3T3-E1 osteoblastic cells. Our findings suggest that cholesterol and GPI-anchored proteins, two membrane structural components related to lipid rafts, may play an important role in osteoblastic cell mechanotransduction.
Osteoblastic mechanotransduction; Oscillatory fluid flow shear stress; Osteoblast; Cholesterol depletion; GPI-anchored proteins
Due to an altered expression of oncogenic factors and tumor suppressors, aggressive cancer cells have an intrinsic or acquired resistance to chemotherapeutic agents. This typically contributes to cancer recurrence after chemotherapy. microRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that are involved in both cell self-renewal and cancer development. Here we report that tumor cells transfected with miR-378 acquired properties of aggressive cancer cells. Overexpression of miR-378 enhanced both cell survival and colony formation, and contributed to multiple drug resistance. Higher concentrations of chemotherapeutic drugs were needed to induce death of miR-378-transfected cells than to induce death of control cells. We found that the biologically active component isolated from Ganoderma lucidum could overcome the drug-resistance conferred by miR-378. We purified and identified the biologically active component of Ganoderma lucidum as ergosterol peroxide. We demonstrated that ergosterol peroxide produced greater activity in inducing death of miR-378 cells than the GFP cells. Lower concentrations of ergosterol peroxide were needed to induce death of the miR-378-transfected cells than in the control cells. With further clinical development, ergosterol peroxide represents a promising new reagent that can overcome the drug-resistance of tumor cells.
The most common forms of neurocristopathy in the autonomic nervous system are Hirschsprung disease (HSCR), resulting in congenital loss of enteric ganglia, and neuroblastoma (NB), childhood tumors originating from the sympathetic ganglia and adrenal medulla. The risk for these diseases dramatically increases in patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) harboring a nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the Paired-like homeobox 2b (PHOX2B) gene, but the molecular mechanism of pathogenesis remains unknown. We found that introducing nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of the PHOX2B into the mouse Phox2b locus recapitulates the clinical features of the CCHS associated with HSCR and NB. In mutant embryos, enteric and sympathetic ganglion progenitors showed sustained sex-determining region Y (SRY) box10 (Sox10) expression, with impaired proliferation and biased differentiation toward the glial lineage. Nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B reduced transactivation of wild-type PHOX2B on its known target, dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH), in a dominant-negative fashion. Moreover, the introduced mutation converted the transcriptional effect of PHOX2B on a Sox10 enhancer from repression to transactivation. Collectively, these data reveal that nonpolyalanine repeat expansion mutation of PHOX2B is both a dominant-negative and gain-of-function mutation. Our results also demonstrate that Sox10 regulation by PHOX2B is pivotal for the development and pathogenesis of the autonomic ganglia.
Defensins constitute a major class of cationic antimicrobial peptides in mammals and vertebrates, acting as effectors of innate immunity against infectious microorganisms. It is generally accepted that defensins are[d1] bactericidal by disrupting the anionic microbial membrane. Here, we provide evidence that membrane activity of human α-defensins does not correlate with antibacterial killing. We[d2] further show that the α-defensin Human Neutrophil Peptide 1 (HNP-1) binds to the cell wall precursor lipid II and that reduction of lipid II levels in the bacterial membrane significantly reduces bacterial killing. The interaction between defensins and Lipid II suggests the inhibition of cell wall synthesis as a novel antibacterial mechanism of this important class of host defense peptides.
human neutrophil peptide 1; defensin; lipid II
In order to investigate the behavior, distribution, and characteristics of heavy metals including rare earth elements (REEs), thorium (Th), and uranium (U) in sludge, the total and fractional concentrations of these elements in sludge collected from an industry water treatment plant were determined and compared with those in natural soil. In addition, the removal/recovery process of heavy metals (Pb, Cr, and Ni) from the polluted sludge was studied with biosurfactant (saponin and sophorolipid) elution by batch and column experiments to evaluate the efficiency of biosurfactant for the removal of heavy metals. Consequently, the following matters have been largely clarified. (1) Heavy metallic elements in sludge have generally larger concentrations and exist as more unstable fraction than those in natural soil. (2) Nonionic saponin including carboxyl group is more efficient than sophorolipid for the removal of heavy metals in polluted sludge. Saponin has selectivity for the mobilization of heavy metals and mainly reacts with heavy metals in F3 (the fraction bound to carbonates) and F5 (the fraction bound to Fe-Mn oxides). (3) The recovery efficiency of heavy metals (Pb, Ni, and Cr) reached about 90–100% using a precipitation method with alkaline solution.
Throwing tumors a left hook punch: The oncoprotein MDM2 negatively regulates the activity and stability of the tumor suppressor protein p53, and is an important molecular target for anticancer therapy. Mirror image phage display identifies a high-affinity D-peptide ligand of MDM2 that can be developed into a potent and protease-resistant p53 activator with potential antitumor activity.
p53; tumor suppressor; MDM2; D-peptides; drug discovery
MicroRNAs are a class of small noncoding RNAs that function as critical gene regulators through targeting mRNAs for translational repression or degradation. In this study, we showed that miR-128 expression levels were decreased in glioma, and identified p70S6K1 as a novel direct target of miR-128. Overexpression of miR-128 suppressed p70S6K1 and its downstream signaling molecules such as HIF-1 and VEGF expression, and attenuated cell proliferation, tumor growth and angiogenesis. Forced expression of p70S6K1 can partly rescue the inhibitory effect of miR-128 in the cells. Taken together, these findings will shed light to the role and mechanism of miR-128 in regulating glioma tumor angiogenesis via miR-128/p70S6K1 axis, and miR-128 may serve as a potential therapeutic target in glioma in the future.
Methyl parathion, a highly cytotoxic insecticide, has been used in agricultural pest control for several years. The present study investigated the protective effect of sodium aescinate (SA, the sodium salt of aescin) against liver injury induced by methyl parathion. Forty male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into 5 groups of 8 animals: the control group; the methyl parathion (15 mg/kg) poisoning (MP) group; and the MP plus SA at doses of 0.45, 0.9 and 1.8 mg/kg groups. Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) in the plasma were assayed. Nitric oxide (NO) and antioxidative parameters were measured. Histopathological examination of the liver was also performed. The results revealed that SA had no effect on AChE. Treatment with SA decreased the activities of ALT and AST, and the levels of malondialdehyde and NO. Treatment with SA also increased the level of glutathione and the activities of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase. SA administration also ameliorated liver injury induced by methyl parathion poisoning. The findings indicate that SA protects against liver injury induced by methyl parathion and that the mechanism of action is related to the antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of SA.
sodium aescinate; methyl parathion; liver injury; acute poisoning
Technologies for vitally labeling cells with fluorescent dyes have advanced remarkably. However, to excite fluorescent dyes currently requires powerful illumination, which can cause phototoxic damage to the cells and increases the cost of microscopy. We have developed a filter system to excite fluorescent dyes using a conventional transmission microscope equipped with a halogen lamp. This method allows us to observe previously invisible cell organelles, such as the metaphase spindle of oocytes, without causing phototoxicity. Cells remain healthy even after intensive manipulation under fluorescence observation, such as during bovine, porcine and mouse somatic cell cloning using nuclear transfer. This method does not require expensive epifluorescence equipment and so could help to reduce the science gap between developed and developing countries.
The present study was designed to evaluate the effects of steady and fluctuant inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity on neurotrophic factors in the hippocampus of juvenile mice. Steady inhibition of AChE activity was induced by an intramuscular injection of huperizine A (HupA) sustained-release microspheres. Fluctuant inhibition of AChE activity was induced by an intragastric administration of HupA tablets. Six days after cessation of steady AChE inhibition, there was a significant increase in the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF). In contrast, fluctuant AChE inhibition had no effect on BDNF and NGF levels. Additionally, neither steady nor fluctuant inhibition of AChE activity altered the choline acetyltransferase activity or spatial learning in juvenile mice. These findings indicate that steady and fluctuant methods of inhibition of AChE have different effects on the levels of BDNF and NGF in the hippocampus. In addition, the effects of AChE inhibitors may not improve learning in normal juvenile animals.
steady inhibition; fluctuant inhibition; acetylcholinesterase inhibitor; neurotrophic factor
Trans-resveratrol rather than its biotransformed monosulfate metabolite exerts anti-medulloblastoma effects by suppressing STAT3 activation. Nevertheless, its effects on human glioblastoma cells are variable due to certain unknown reason(s).
Citing resveratrol-sensitive UW228-3 medulloblastoma cell line and primarily cultured rat brain cells/PBCs as controls, the effect of resveratrol on LN-18 human glioblastoma cells and its relevance with metabolic pattern(s), brain-associated sulfotransferase/SULT expression and the statuses of STAT3 signaling and protein inhibitor of activated STAT3 (PIAS3) were elucidated by multiple experimental approaches. Meanwhile, the expression patterns of three SULTs (SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1) in human glioblastoma tumors were profiled immunohistochemically. The results revealed that 100 µM resveratrol-treated LN-18 generated the same metabolites as UW228-3 cells, while additional metabolite in molecular weight of 403.0992 in negative ion mode was found in PBCs. Neither growth arrest nor apoptosis was found in resveratrol-treated LN-18 and PBC cells. Upon resveratrol treatment, the levels of SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1 expression in LN-18 cells were more up-regulated than that expressed in UW228-3 cells and close to the levels in PBCs. Immunohistochemical staining showed that 42.0%, 27.1% and 19.6% of 149 glioblastoma cases produced similar SULT1A1, 1C2 and 4A1 levels as that of tumor-surrounding tissues. Unlike the situation in UW228-3 cells, STAT3 signaling remained activated and its protein inhibitor PIAS3 was restricted in the cytosol of resveratrol-treated LN-18 cells. No nuclear translocation of STAT3 and PIAS3 was observed in resveratrol-treated PBCs. Treatment with STAT3 chemical inhibitor, AG490, committed majority of LN-18 and UW228-3 cells but not PBCs to apoptosis within 48 hours.
LN-18 glioblastoma cells are insensitive to resveratrol due to the more inducible brain-associated SULT expression, insufficiency of resveratrol to suppress activated STAT3 signaling and the lack of PIAS3 nuclear translocation. The findings from PBCs suggest that an effective anticancer dose of resveratrol exerts little side effect on normal brain cells.
The title compound, C35H35NO2·CH4O, was obtained by the reaction of rac-2-amino-2-hydroxy-1,1-binaphthyl and 3,5-di-tert-butyl-2-hydroxybenzaldehyde in absolute methanol. In the Schiff base molecule, the two naphthyl bicycles are twisted by 71.15 (5)°. One hydroxy group is involved in intramolecular O—H⋯N hydrogen bond, while the methanol solvent molecule is linked to another hydroxy group via an intermolecular O—H⋯O hydrogen bond.
Inhibition of the interaction between the tumor suppressor protein p53 and its negative regulators MDM2 and MDMX is of great interest in cancer biology and drug design. We previously reported a potent duodecimal peptide inhibitor, termed PMI (TSFAEYWNLLSP), of the p53-MDM2 and -MDMX interactions. PMI competes with p53 for MDM2 and MDMX binding at an affinity roughly two orders of magnitude higher than that of 17–28p53 (ETFSDLWKLLPE) of the same length; both peptides adopt nearly identical α-helical conformations in the complexes, where the three highlighted hydrophobic residues Phe, Trp and Leu dominate PMI or 17–28p53 binding to MDM2 and MDMX. To elucidate the molecular determinants for PMI activity and specificity, we performed a systematic Ala scanning mutational analysis of PMI and 17–28p53. The binding affinities for MDM2 and MDMX of a total of 35 peptides including 10 truncation analogs were quantified, affording a complete dissection of energetic contributions of individual residues of PMI and 17–28p53 to MDM2 and MDMX association. Importantly, the N8A mutation turned PMI into the most potent dual specific antagonist of MDM2 and MDMX reported to date, registering respective Kd values of 490 pM and 2.4 nM. The co-crystal structure of N8A-PMI-25–109MDM2 was determined at 1.95 Å, affirming that high-affinity peptide binding to MDM2/MDMX necessitates, in addition to optimized inter-molecular interactions, enhanced helix stability or propensity contributed by non-contact residues. The powerful empirical binding data and crystal structures present a unique opportunity for computational studies of peptide inhibition of the p53-MDM2/MDMX interactions.
Danshensu (3-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl) lactic acid), a water-soluble active component isolated from the root of Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge, is widely used for the treatment of cerebrovascular diseases. The present study aims to investigate the role of P-glycoprotein in transport of Danshensu across the blood-brain barrier. Sprague-Dawley rats were pretreated with verapamil at a dose of 20 mg kg−1 (verapamil group) or the same volume of normal saline (control group). Ninety minutes later, the animals were administrated with Danshensu (15 mg kg−1) by intravenous injection. At 15 min, 30 min, and 60 min after Danshensu administration, the levels of Danshensu in the blood and brain were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). The results showed that Danshensu concentrations in the brain of the rats pretreated with verapamil were significantly increased. In addition, the brain-plasma ratios of the group pretreated with verapamil were much higher than that of the control group. There was no difference in Danshensu level in plasma between the verapamil group and control group. The findings indicated that Danshensu can pass the blood-brain barrier, and P-glycoprotein plays an important role in Danshensu transportation in brain.
The oncoproteins MDM2 and MDMX negatively regulate the activity and stability of the tumor suppressor protein p53, and are important molecular targets for anticancer therapy. Grafting four residues critical for MDM2/MDMX binding to the C-terminal α-helix of apamin converts the bee-venom neurotoxin into a novel class of potent p53 activators with potential antitumor activity.
p53; MDM2; MDMX; apamin; stingin
Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was used to analyze the interactions between fibrinogen and model surfaces having different levels of water wettability. In contrast to most AFM studies, proteins were coupled to the substrate while model surface colloids were attached to the end of the AFM probe, thereby ensuring that proteins undergo only a single compression/decompression cycle. Similar values of adhesion force were observed between fibrinogen and all of the highly wettable surfaces, in the same manner, fibrinogen showed similar adhesion forces against all poorly wettable surfaces, with a step-like transition observed between the two groups. Relationships between the adhesion forces and loading rates were used to analyze the energy profiles involved in protein/surface interactions. Multiple energy barriers were found in the interaction of proteins with poorly-wettable surfaces while a single energy barrier was found for protein interactions with highly-wettable surfaces. Contact time-dependent adhesion data were fit to an exponential model and showed that the rate constants of the protein unfolding process on highly wettable surface were smaller at low loading rates, but increased rapidly to yield similar values as the poorly wettable surfaces at high loading rates. The activation energies of protein unfolding derived from the data offer insight into the role of surface wettability in affecting adhesion, conformational changes and ultimately the activity of proteins at biomaterial surfaces.
Sustaining life beyond Earth either on space stations or on other planets will require a clear understanding of how the space environment affects key phases of mammalian reproduction. However, because of the difficulty of doing such experiments in mammals, most studies of reproduction in space have been carried out with other taxa, such as sea urchins, fish, amphibians or birds. Here, we studied the possibility of mammalian fertilization and preimplantation development under microgravity (µG) conditions using a three-dimensional (3D) clinostat, which faithfully simulates 10–3 G using 3D rotation. Fertilization occurred normally in vitro under µG. However, although we obtained 75 healthy offspring from µG-fertilized and -cultured embryos after transfer to recipient females, the birth rate was lower than among the 1G controls. Immunostaining demonstrated that in vitro culture under µG caused slower development and fewer trophectoderm cells than in 1G controls but did not affect polarization of the blastocyst. These results suggest for the first time that fertilization can occur normally under µG environment in a mammal, but normal preimplantation embryo development might require 1G.
Glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a distant member of the TGFβ protein family that is essential for neuronal survival and renal morphogenesis. We show that mice who are deficient in the glycosyl-phosphatidyl inositol (GPI) -linked protein GFRα1 (GDNFRα) display deficits in the kidneys, the enteric nervous system, and spinal motor and sensory neurons that are strikingly similar to those of the GDNF-and Ret-deficient mice. GFRα1-deficient dopaminergic and nodose sensory ganglia neurons no longer respond to GDNF or to the structurally related protein neurturin (NTN) but can be rescued when exposed to GDNF or neurturin in the presence of soluble GFRα1. In contrast, GFRα1-deficient submandibular parasympathetic neurons retain normal response to these two factors. Taken together with the available genetic and biochemical data, these findings support the idea that GFRα1 and the transmembrane tyrosine kinase Ret are both necessary receptor components for GDNF in the developing kidney and nervous system, and that GDNF and neurturin can mediate some of their activities through a second receptor.