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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 13;277(37):33930-42. Epub 2002 Jul 11.

Essential role of cAMP-response element-binding protein activation by A2A adenosine receptors in rescuing the nerve growth factor-induced neurite outgrowth impaired by blockage of the MAPK cascade.

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  • 1Division of Neuroscience, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, Republic of China.


We found in the present study that stimulation of the A(2A) adenosine receptor (A(2A)-R) using an A(2A)-selective agonist (CGS21680) rescued the blockage of nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced neurite outgrowth when the NGF-evoked MAPK cascade was suppressed by an MEK inhibitor (PD98059) or by a dominant-negative MAPK mutant (dnMAPK). This action of A(2A)-R (designated as the A(2A)-rescue effect) can be blocked by two inhibitors of protein kinase A (PKA) and was absent in a PKA-deficient PC12 variant. Activation of the cAMP/PKA pathway by forskolin exerted the same effect as that by A(2A)-R stimulation. PKA, thus, appears to mediate the A(2A)-rescue effect. Results from cAMP-response element-binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation at serine 133, trans-reporting assays, and overexpression of two dominant-negative CREB mutants revealed that A(2A)-R stimulation led to activation of CREB in a PKA-dependent manner and subsequently reversed the damage of NGF-evoked neurite outgrowth by PD98059 or dnMAPK. Expression of an active mutant of CREB readily rescued the NGF-induced neurite outgrowth impaired by dnMAPK, further strengthening the importance of CREB in the NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth process. Moreover, simultaneous activation of the A(2A)-R/PKA/CREB-mediated and the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways caused neurite outgrowth that was not suppressed by a selective inhibitor of TrkA, indicating that transactivation of TrkA was not involved. Collectively, CREB functions in conjunction with the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathway to mediate the neurite outgrowth process in PC12 cells.

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