Immunophilins in Nervous System Degeneration and Regeneration
C. L. Achim.
Immunophilins are receptors for immunosuppressive drugs like cyclosporin A, FK506, rapamycin and their non- immunosuppressive analogs, which are collectively referred to as “immunophilin ligands” (IPL). Cyclosporin A binds to a class of IP called cyclophilins, whereas the receptors for FK506 and rapamycin belong to the family of FK506- binding proteins (FKBP). The latter are designated according to their molecular weight: FKBP12, 25, 52 etc. FKBP levels in the rat brain are up to 50 times higher than in the immune system. FKBP12 is associated with IP3 and ryanodine receptors present on the endoplasmic reticulum and plays a role in stabilizing calcium release. It has also been proposed to be a modulator of the TGFβ receptor activity. Crush injury of facial or sciatic nerves in rat leads to markedly increased FKBP12 levels in the respective nerve nuclei and this increase is related to nerve regeneration. Cyclophilin A protects cells from death following expression of mutant Cu / Zn superoxide dismutase, which is associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our recent studies show that FKBP12 and FKBP52 are expressed in the human nervous system, especially in the substantia nigra- deep gray matter axis. In neurodegenerative diseases, FKBP12 levels increase in neurons situated in areas of pathology. This IP colocalizes with synaptophysin and α- synuclein, suggesting that it may become a novel marker of pathology. Immunophilins participate in axonal transport, synaptic vesicle assembly and may play a role in neuroprotection against abnormal protein aggregation, suggesting a potential avenue of therapeutic interventions.
Keywords: immunophilin, fk506- binding protein, human, neurodegenerative diseases
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