zfNLRR is a novel transmembrane protein that is most prominently expressed during regeneration of the zebrafish central nervous system. Retinal ganglion cells and descending spinal cord neurons strongly increase zfNLRR mRNA levels after axotomy in the adult. In contrast, during development expression is hardly detectable and is restricted to a few sensory systems. In the adult brain, zfNLRR mRNA is found at low levels in several motor and premotor systems. Sequence analysis reveals that zfNLRR contains in its extracellular region 12 leucine-rich repeats, 1 immunoglobulin-like domain and 1 fibronectin type III-like domain. The same protein binding motifs were identified in transmembrane proteins from frog, mouse, and human. Together, they constitute a novel family of vertebrate neuronal leucine-rich repeat proteins. Three distinct isoforms are identified so far. On the basis of its structural features and expression pattern, we propose that zfNLRR functions as a neuronal-specific adhesion molecule or soluble ligand binding receptor, primarily during restoration of the nervous system after injury.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.