MSP, a trypsin-like serine protease, is abundantly expressed in the human nervous system

Isobel A. Scarisbrick, Paul J. Isackson, Bogoljub Ciric, Anthony J. Windebank, Moses Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The goal of the present investigation was to determine the regional and cellular specific expression patterns of the newly identified serine protease, myelencephalon-specific protease (MSP), in the adult human brain (Scarisbrick et al. [1997b] J. Neurosci. 17:8156-8168). To assess the potential scope of MSP activity, Northern blot techniques were used to determine the relative abundance of MSP mRNA in 16 different adult human brain regions, and in the brain and peripheral tissues of the midgestation human fetus. The regional and temporal specific expression patterns of MSP mRNA were directly compared with those of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a serine protease strongly implicated in the development, ongoing plasticity, and response of the nervous system to injury and disease. mRNA encoding each protease was distributed widely throughout the normal adult human central nervous system (CNS), but the expression of each was only partially overlapping. Additionally, compared with tPA, MSP exhibited a more restricted distribution and delayed developmental onset. By immunohistochemical localization, MSP was present at moderate to high levels in neurons and oligodendroglia of the adult human brain, at a level closely resembling the relative abundance indicated by Northern blot. MSP was most abundantly expressed in the spinal cord, hippocampus, substantia nigra, and basal ganglia. The robust expression of MSP in clinically significant regions of the adult human CNS indicates that further study of this protease in terms of both normal brain physiology and neurodegenerative disorders is warranted. J. Comp. Neurol. 431:347-361, 2001.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-361
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 12 2001


  • Glia
  • Myelencephalon-specific protease (MSP)
  • Nervous system
  • Neuron
  • Oligodedrocyte
  • Tissue plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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