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Issue 29, 2015
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Composite bottlebrush mechanics: α-internexin fine-tunes neurofilament network properties

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Abstract

Neuronal cytoplasmic intermediate filaments are principal structural and mechanical elements of the axon. Their expression during embryonic development follows a differential pattern, while their unregulated expression is correlated to neurodegenerative diseases. The largest neurofilament proteins of medium (NF-M) and high molecular weight (NF-H) were shown to modulate the axonal architecture and inter-filament spacing. However, the individual roles of the remaining α-internexin (α-Inx) and neurofilament of low molecular weight (NF-L) proteins in composite filaments remained elusive. In contrast to previous predictions, we show that when co-assembled with NF-M, the shortest and the least charged α-Inx protein increases inter-filament spacing. These findings suggest a novel structural explanation for the expression pattern of neurofilament proteins during embryonic development. We explain our results by an analysis of ionic cross-links between the disordered polyampholytic C-terminal tails and suggest that a collapsed conformation of the α-Inx tail domain interferes with tail cross-linking near the filament backbone.

Graphical abstract: Composite bottlebrush mechanics: α-internexin fine-tunes neurofilament network properties

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Mar 2015, accepted on 16 Jun 2015 and first published on 16 Jun 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM00662G
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Citation: Soft Matter, 2015,11, 5839-5849
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    Composite bottlebrush mechanics: α-internexin fine-tunes neurofilament network properties

    M. Kornreich, E. Malka-Gibor, A. Laser-Azogui, O. Doron, H. Herrmann and R. Beck, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 5839
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM00662G

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