Inhibitory activity of myelin-associated glycoprotein on sensory neurons is largely independent of NgR1 and NgR2 and resides within Ig-Like domains 4 and 5

PLoS One. 2009;4(4):e5218. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005218. Epub 2009 Apr 15.


Myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) is a sialic acid binding Ig-like lectin (Siglec) which has been characterized as potent myelin-derived inhibitor of neurite outgrowth. Two members of the Nogo-receptor (NgR) family, NgR1 and NgR2, have been identified as neuronal binding proteins of MAG. In addition, gangliosides have been proposed to bind to and confer the inhibitory activity of MAG on neurons. In this study, we investigated the individual contribution of NgRs and gangliosides to MAG-mediated inhibition of sensory neurons derived from dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of ngr1, ngr2 or ngr1/ngr2 deletion mutants. We found no disinhibition of neurite growth in the absence of either NgR1 or NgR2. Sensory neurons deficient for both NgR proteins displayed only a moderate reduction of MAG-mediated inhibition of neurite growth. If treated with Vibrio cholerae neuraminidase (VCN), inhibition by MAG is further attenuated but still not annulled. Thus, disrupting all known protein and ganglioside receptors for MAG in sensory neurons does not fully abolish its inhibitory activity pointing to the existence of as yet unidentified receptors for MAG. Moreover, by employing a variety of protein mutants, we identified the Ig-like domains 4 or 5 of MAG as necessary and sufficient for growth arrest, whereas abolishing MAG's ability to bind to sialic acid did not interfere with its inhibitory activity. These findings provide new insights into the inhibitory function of MAG and suggest similarities but also major differences in MAG inhibition between sensory and central nervous system (CNS) neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Gangliosides / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lectins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myelin Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein / metabolism*
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / metabolism
  • Neural Inhibition*
  • Neuraminidase / pharmacology
  • Neurites / metabolism*
  • Nogo Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / metabolism*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins
  • Transfection


  • Gangliosides
  • Lectins
  • MOG protein, human
  • Mog protein, mouse
  • Myelin Proteins
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein
  • Myelin-Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein
  • Nogo Proteins
  • RTN4 protein, human
  • Rtn4 protein, mouse
  • Sialic Acid Binding Immunoglobulin-like Lectins
  • Neuraminidase
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid