Drebrins, actin-binding proteins, are dominantly expressed during embryogenesis and accumulated in neurite processes of postmigratory neurons. While the cytoskeletal proteins are the important factors for regulating neurite outgrowth, the cellular mechanism in neurons is still unclear. To address the role of drebrins in the neurite outgrowth, we have studied the effect of suppression of drebrin on a rat neuroblastoma B104 cell line, which constitutively expresses drebrin. Deprivation of serum or addition of gangliosides in the culture medium induced remarkable neurite outgrowth of B104 cells. We transfected B104 cells with an antisense construct of human drebrin E cDNA and found that the drebrin expression was significantly reduced in the stable antisense cell lines. In response to serum deprivation and gangliosides treatment, their ability to extend neurite processes was significantly attenuated. In contrast, the cell proliferation of the antisense transfectants was arrested by serum deprivation similar to control B104 cells. These data suggest that the drebrins are required for neurite outgrowth in neuronal cells.
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