Low-molecular-weight peptide stimulates cholinergic development in ventral spinal cord cultures

J. L. McManaman, R. G. Smith, Stanley H. Appel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Skeletal muscle extract contains a previously undocumented 1300- to 1500-Da neurotrophic factor. Incubation of ventral spinal cord neurons in the presence of this factor enhances the rate of de novo acetylcholine synthesis two- to threefold over control cells, after 6 days in culture. This effect on cholinergic activity appears to be selective, since incubation with the factor results in only slight elevations of lactate dehydrogenase activity and DNA content, and no increase in the acetycholinesterase activity. The 1300- to 1500-Da factor is acid-stable and partially sensitive to proteolysis by proteinase K, Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease, and subtilisin, but insensitive to trypsin. These results indicate that the active moiety is a peptide. The importance of peptides as neurotransmitters or neuromodulators is well accepted, but their role in the regulation of neuronal development is not widely appreciated. The present cholinergic neurotrophic peptide is distinct from previously characterized cholinergic trophic factors and represents the first example of a small, target-derived peptide which influences cholinergic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-252
Number of pages5
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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