In the preceding paper (Salzer et al., 1980, J. Cell Biol. 84:753--766), evidence was presented that a neurite membrane fraction could be used to stimulate Schwann cell proliferation in culture. In this study, we present evidence that the mitogenic signal by which intact neurites or neurite membranes stimulate Schwann cell proliferation is located at the neurite surface. This conclusion is based on the following observations: (a) stimulation of Schwann cell proliferation by neurons requires direct contact between neurites and Schwann cells, separation of the two cells by a permeable collagen diaphragm 6 microns thick prevents Schwann cell proliferation; (b) treatment of intact neurites with trypsin before preparation of neurite membranes abolishes the ability of these membranes to be mitogenic for Schwann cells; and (c) the mitogenic activity of neurite homogenates is exclusively localized in the particulate rather than the soluble fraction of the homogenate. The mitogenic component on the neurite surface is heat labile, and is inactivated by aldehyde fixation. Preliminary data suggest that the mitogenic effect of neurite on Schwann cells is not mediated by 3',5'-cyclic AMP.

This content is only available as a PDF.