Astrocyte tissue plasminogen activator expression during brain development and its role in pyramidal neuron neurite outgrowth

Calla M. Goeke, Xiaolu Zhang, Joel G. Hashimoto, Marina Guizzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The serine protease tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), encoded by the gene Plat, exerts a wide range of proteolysis-dependent and proteolysis-independent functions. In the developing brain, tPA is involved in neuronal development via the modulation of the proteolytic degradation of the extracellular matrix (ECM). Both lack of and excessive tPA are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and with brain pathology. Astrocytes play a major role in neurite outgrowth of developing neurons as they are major producers of ECM proteins and ECM proteases. In this study we investigated the expression of Plat in developing and mature hippocampal and cortical astrocytes of Aldh1l1-EGFP-Rpl10a mice in vivo following Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification (TRAP) and the role of tPA in modulating astrocyte-mediated neurite outgrowth in an in vitro astrocyte-neuron co-culture system. We show that Plat is highly enriched in astrocytes in the developing, but not in the mature, hippocampus and cortex. Both the silencing of tPA expression in astrocytes and astrocyte exposure to recombinant tPA reduce neuritogenesis in co-cultured hippocampal neurons. These results suggest that astrocyte tPA is involved in modulating neuronal development and that tight control of astrocyte tPA expression is important for normal neuronal development, with both experimentally elevated and reduced levels of this proteolytic enzyme impairing neurite outgrowth. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the ECM, by serving as adhesive substrate, enables neurite outgrowth, but that controlled proteolysis of the ECM is needed for growth cone advancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136422
JournalNeuroscience Letters
StatePublished - Jan 19 2022


  • Astrocytes
  • Brain development
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Pyramidal neurons
  • Tissue plasminogen activator
  • Translating Ribosome Affinity Purification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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