Targeted expression of an oncogenic adaptor protein v-Crk potentiates axonal growth in dorsal root ganglia and motor neurons in vivo

David E. Weinstein, Kostantin Dobrenis, Raymond B. Birge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The ability of neurons to survive and to target axonal growth requires a coordinated series of cell extrinsic and intrinsic events. Previously, in a cellular model for neuronal differentiation, we showed that pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells expressing v-Crk, an oncogenic form of the SH2/SH3-containing c-Crk adaptor protein, potentiates axonal growth and prolongs nerve growth factor (NGF)-independent survival. In the present study, we have generated transgenic mice that express v-Crk in sensory, motor, and enteric neurons by placing v-crk under the control of the neuron-specific peripherin promoter. In contrast to wild-type (wt) mice, dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons explanted from post-natal day 1 transgenic mice demonstrated a reduced dependence on trophic factors for both survival and axonogenesis. v-Crk also caused an increase in the number of surviving spinal motor neurons (SMN), and interestingly, upon staining of sternomastoid muscle fibers with rhodamine conjugated α-bungarotoxin, many muscle fibers displayed an apparent increase in volume of motor end plates, and an increase in complexity of neuromuscular junctions (NMJ). Our data suggest that v-Crk may be involved in transducing extracellular signals to regulate cytoskeletal organization, and may act on an intrinsic determinant for axonal growth in a variety of neural types including sensory and motor neurons during development. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 5 1999



  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Neurotrophin
  • SH2/SH3 domain
  • Transgenic mouse
  • Tyrosine kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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