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Edited by Charles A. Marotta
Copyright Date: 1983
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Neurofilaments are fibrous organelles that serve as one of the main structural elements of neurons. Synthesized in the perikaryon ,or nerve cell body, neurofilaments are transported along the axon, where they help to maintain the neuronal architecture. Recent research has shown that neurofilaments are biochemically distinct from other kinds of cellular filaments and that they play a special role in the health and functioning of neurons. Although their existence has been recognized for over a century, scientists have only recently started to apply the methods of cellular and molecular biology to the study of neurofilaments, aided by the use of the electron microscope. The study of neurofilaments has raised a number of interesting biological questions with implications for our understanding of neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, and neurology. This book is the first to provide, in one place, reports by specialists on the most significant areas of research on these neuronal organelles. The book opens with a historical background to current research, followed by chapters dealing with the neuronal cytoskeleton; the biochemistry of neurofilaments; neurofilaments of the mammalian peripheral nerve; the functional role of neurofilaments in axonal transport; the metabolism of neurofilaments; experimental models of abnormal neurofilamentous pathology; and the relation of these abnormal structures to Alzheimer’s disease. Editor Charles Marotta’s closing chapter surveys current and future neurofilament research.

    eISBN: 978-1-4529-3722-9
    Subjects: Health Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vi-vii)
  4. Editorʹs Note
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Historical Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
    Alfred Pope
  6. Chapter 1 Introduction to the Cytoskeleton
    (pp. 3-26)
    Mark H. Ellisman and Keith R. Porter

    The concept of form-controlling components in the cytoplasm of eukaryotic cells predates the electron-microscopic description of fibrous macromolecules now thought to provide the cells’ framework. Recognition that 24-nm microtubules (MT) (Figure 1-1) are a ubiquitous component of eukaryotic cells and are prominent in the long processes of the anisometric cells of the nervous system has led to their general acceptance as vectors guiding and stabilizing the complex shape of neurons. In addition to these tubules, there are 10-nm “intermediate” filaments (IF) (Figure 1-2) known as neurofilaments in neurons. These neurofilaments, the subject of this volume (but not this chapter), are...

  7. Chapter 2 Biochemistry of Neurofilaments
    (pp. 27-56)
    Fung-Chow Chiu, James E. Goldman and William T. Norton

    Neurofilaments are the intermediate filaments of neurons and their processes. They were the first intermediate filament types to be recognized morphologically, and invertebrate neurofilaments were the first of this class of structures to be examined biochemically. In the past decade, work on intermediate filament proteins has progressed rapidly. We now know that most tissues contain filaments of similar morphology but of several chemically distinct types. Neurofilaments remain unusual in this class of structures in that mammalian neurofilaments are composed of three different subunit proteins rather than one. They also appear to be absolutely specific to neuronal cells. On the other...

  8. Chapter 3 Neurofilaments of Mammalian Peripheral Nerve
    (pp. 57-85)
    William W. Schlaepfer

    Peripheral nerves are composed of neuronal processes or axons that extend for extraordinary distances from neuronal perikarya. These axonal processes are supported by a cytoskeleton that occupies almost all of the axonal content. The abundance of this axonal cytoskeleton, its accessibility, as well as the parallel alignment and proximodistal orientation of nerve fibers provide advantages to studies of the cytoskeleton in peripheral nerve.

    Neurofilaments represent the most conspicuous component of the cytoskeleton in peripheral nerve. Under electron microscopy, it is evident that the cytoskeleton consists of neurofilaments and microtubules arrayed along the longitudinal axis of the nerve fibers (115, 116)....

  9. Chapter 4 Neurofilaments and Axonal Transport
    (pp. 86-116)
    Mark Willard

    The neurofilamentous cytoskeleton is a major architectural element of many types of neurons. Understanding its repertoire of behavior is important from two points of view. On the one hand, the neurofilaments are uniquely neuronal structures whose constituent proteins are not found in other types of cells; this specificity suggests that certain aspects of their function reflect the solutions to problems that are peculiar to neurons. On the other hand, the neurofilaments are an example of a more general class of morphologically similar filaments, designated intermediate filaments, found in many types of cells. As such, their behavior may reveal principles of...

  10. Chapter 5 Proteolysis of Neurofilaments
    (pp. 117-154)
    Ralph A. Nixon

    Proteolytic enzymes influence cell function at virtually every level of cellular organization. By relieving cells of obsolescent proteins and by replenishing supplies of free amino acids, proteinases exert coarse control over the entire cellular protein pool (1,94,135). Certain of these enzymes comprise a scavenging mechanism to protect cells from accumulating abnormal and potentially toxic proteins (41,72). An increasing number of proteinases with limited specificity has been shown to sculpture proteins in ways that modify their function or release smaller active polypeptides (reviews in 75,85,87,97,123). Limited proteolysis also may be the initial and rate-limiting step in the breakdown of most proteins...

  11. Chapter 6 Experimental Models of Neurofilamentous Pathology
    (pp. 155-195)
    Kenneth S. Kosik and Dennis J. Selkoe

    The development of experimental systems in which the cellular economy of neurofilaments is altered has importance to two broad areas of investigation. First, such models provide tissue in which specific aspects of the cell biology of normal neurofilaments (for example, synthesis, transport, degradation) can be manipulated and thus be more readily studied than in normal neurons. At the same time, they may provide abundant quantities of starting material for certain structural and physicochemical analyses ofin situor purified neurofilaments. Second, the use of animal and tissue culture systems allows one to derive dynamic information about the sequence of cellular...

  12. Chapter 7 Neurofibrillary Tangles and Paired Helical Filaments in Alzheimerʹs Disease
    (pp. 196-221)
    Henryk M. Wisniewski, George S. Merz, Patricia A. Merz, Guang Y. Wen and Khalid Iqbal

    Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a degenerative disease of the human central nervous system (CNS) that is characterized by a progressive loss of mental functioning that culminates in a profound dementia. Although the term was originally used to describe a specific form of presenile dementia, it is now clear that the disease occurs much more frequently in the senium. Arbitrarily, the disease is labeled presenile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease when it occurs prior to age 65 and senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT) after age 65.

    The impact of SDAT on the elderly has only recently become appreciated. Of the...

  13. Chapter 8 Some Aspects of Current and Future Neurofilament Research
    (pp. 222-230)
    Charles A. Marotta

    Significant aspects of neuronal filament research have been described in the previous chapters of this volume. This brief section will serve only to highlight those areas that may prove to be particularly fruitful for increasing our knowledge of the structure, function, and genetic regulation of neurofilaments.

    Considerable effort has been invested in identifying the major protein constituents of neurofilaments (NFs). Modified versions of the axon-flotation procedure of Norton and associates (Chapter 2) or the direct extraction procedure of Schlaepfer (Chapter 3) have been used to prepare neurofilaments for protein analysis. Various chapters of this volume have described the evidence that...

  14. Index
    (pp. 233-238)