What is GFAP?
An Introduction to Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)
Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is a type III intermediate filament protein belonging to the intermediate filament protein family. The GFAP gene in humans encodes the GFAP protein. The gene is located on chromosome 17. Several CNS cell types that include ependymal cells and astrocytes express GFAP proteins during development. Other human cells, such as keratinocytes, Leydig cells, chondrocytes, and osteocytes, also express GFAP. GFAP, along with the other three non-epithelial cells belonging to the same protein family, regulates the functions and structure of the cytoskeleton. Although many studies use GFAP as a cell marker, we have still not completely understood its role in the body.
Studies suggest a GFAP protein can help maintain cell shape and astrocyte mechanical strength. Type III intermediate filament proteins comprise three domains, head, rod, and tail. The rod domain may differ in its DNA sequence, but its protein structure is highly conserved. GFAP can form both a homodimer and heterodimer and can polymerize other proteins in the type III group. GFAP comprises eight different isoforms that make up distinct astrocyte subpopulations in the human brain. Out of these isoforms, GFAP alpha is the only one that can assemble homomerically. Another isoform, GFAP delta, is one of the most researched GFAP isoforms. Studies have linked GFAP delta isoform with neural stem cells.
You can also use the other names like GFAP and ALXDRD when searching for ‘What is GFAP?’ or ‘What is Glial fibrillary acidic protein’?