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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 7;275(1):565-70.

A novel apoptotic pathway induced by nerve growth factor-mediated TrkA activation in medulloblastoma.

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  • 1Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, Department of Pathology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Nerve growth factor (NGF) induces apoptosis in a human medulloblastoma cell line (MED283) engineered to express TrkA (MED283-TrkA) (Muragaki, Y., Chou, T. T., Kaplan, D. R., Trojanowski, J. Q., and Lee, V. M. (1997) J. Neurosci. 17, 530-542). To dissect the molecular signaling pathway that mediates this novel effect, specific receptor mutations in Trk have been employed. We showed that phosphorylation of tyrosine 490 is required for activation of phosphoinositide 3-OH kinase, whereas phosphorylation of tyrosine 785 is required for activation of phospholipase C-gamma. TrkA-mediated apoptosis was abolished when either the ATP-binding site or both tyrosines 490 and 785 were mutated. Because tyrosines 490 and 785 mediate redundant signaling through the Ras-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Ras-ERK) pathway, we examined the role of Ras-ERK signaling in NGF-induced apoptosis. We found that MED283-TrkA cells expressing a dominant negative Ras inhibitor (N17Ras) failed to undergo ERK activation and apoptosis following NGF treatment, whereas the ERK kinase (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase) inhibitors PD98059 and U0126 eliminated ERK activation but had no effect on apoptosis. We infer from these data that NGF-induced apoptosis is mediated by a novel Ras and/or Raf signaling pathway.

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