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Mol Pharmacol. 2001 Jul;60(1):63-70.

Nerve growth factor stimulation of p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein kinase in PC12 cells: role of G(i/o), G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2, beta-arrestin I, and endocytic processing.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Strathclyde Institute for Biomedical Sciences, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom.


In this study, we have shown that nerve growth factor (NGF)-dependent activation of the p42/p44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p42/p44 MAPK) pathway in PC12 cells can be partially blocked by pertussis toxin (which inactivates the G proteins G(i/o)). This suggests that the Trk A receptor may use a G protein-coupled receptor pathway to signal to p42/p44 MAPK. This was supported by data showing that the NGF-dependent activation of p42/p44 MAPK is potentiated in cells transfected with G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2) or beta-arrestin I. Moreover, GRK2 is constitutively bound with the Trk A receptor, whereas NGF stimulates the pertussis toxin-sensitive binding of beta-arrestin I to the TrkA receptor-GRK2 complex. Both GRK2 and beta-arrestin I are involved in clathrin-mediated endocytic signaling to p42/p44 MAPK. Indeed, inhibitors of clathrin-mediated endocytosis (e.g., monodansylcadaverine, concanavalin A, and hyperosmolar sucrose) reduced the NGF-dependent activation of p42/p44 MAPK. Finally, we have found that the G protein-coupled receptor-dependent component regulating p42/p44 MAPK is required for NGF-induced differentiation of PC12 cells. Thus, NGF-dependent inhibition of DNA synthesis was partially blocked by PD098059 (inhibitor of MAPK kinase-1 activation) and pertussis toxin. Our findings are the first to show that the Trk A receptor uses a classic G protein-coupled receptor-signaling pathway to promote differentiation of PC12 cells.

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