In a number of animal species, the growth-associated protein (GAP), GAP-43 (aka: F1, neuromodulin, B-50, G50, pp46), has been implicated in the regulation of presynaptic vesicular function and axonal growth and plasticity via its own biochemical properties and interactions with a number of other presynaptic proteins. Changes in the expression of GAP-43 mRNA or distribution of the protein coincide with axonal outgrowth as a consequence of neuronal damage and presynaptic rearrangement that would occur following instances of elevated patterned neural activity including memory formation and development. While functional enhancement in GAP-43 mRNA and/or protein activity has historically been hypothesized as a central mediator of axonal neuroplastic and regenerative responses in the central nervous system, it does not appear to be the crucial substrate sufficient for driving these responses. This review explores the historical discovery of GAP-43 (and associated monikers), its transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation and current understanding of protein interactions and regulation with respect to its role in axonal function. While GAP-43 itself appears to have moved from a pivotal to a supporting factor, there is no doubt that investigations into its functions have provided a clearer understanding of the biochemical underpinnings of axonal plasticity.

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Keywords Axons, Development, GAP-43, Long-term potentiation, Protein kinase C, Regeneration
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Journal Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience
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Holahan, M.R. (2017). A shift from a pivotal to supporting role for the growth-associated protein (GAP-43) in the coordination of axonal structural and functional plasticity. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience (Vol. 11). doi:10.3389/fncel.2017.00266