The effect of triiodothyronine (T3) on the rate of synthesis of nuclear proteins was studied during terminal differentiation of rat cortical neurons cultured in a serum-free medium. To this aim total and acid soluble nuclear proteins were analyzed by different electrophoretic techniques. Our results show that: 1) during maturation in vitro, neuronal nuclei undergo a dramatic change in the rate at which different classes of histones and high mobility group (HMG) proteins are synthesized; the synthetic activity, measured as incorporation of radioactive precursors into nuclear proteins, slows indeed down with age: especially evident is the decrease in core histones synthesis; at day 15, on the other hand, HMG 14 and 17 and ubiquitinated H2A (A24) are synthesized at a high rate, especially in T3-treated neurons; 2) neurons treated with T3 show, at any age tested, a higher level of lysine incorporation into nuclear proteins; 3) even if during the first days of culture neurons synthesize core histones more actively in the presence of T3, there is no accumulation of these proteins at later stages, as compared with untreated cells. Possible implications of these data and relationship with the chromatin rearrangement which accompanies neuronal terminal differentiation are discussed.
- CNS development
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