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Neuropathology. 2002 Dec;22(4):219-32.

The constitutive and inducible expression of Nurr1, a key regulator of dopaminergic neuronal differentiation, in human neural and non-neural cell lines.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, National Institute of Neuroscience, NCNP, Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan.


Nur-related factor 1 (Nurr1), nerve growth factor-induced gene B (NGFI-B) and neuron-derived orphan receptor-1 (NOR-1) constitute the orphan nuclear receptor subfamily of transcription factors. Previous studies showed that midbrain dopaminergic neuronal precursor cells failed to differentiate in Nurr1-deficient mice. To investigate a role of Nurr1 in human neuronal function, Nurr1 mRNA expression was studied in human neural cell lines by RT-PCR and northern blot analysis. Nurr1, NGFI-B and NOR-1 mRNA were coexpressed in all human neural and nonneural cell lines under the serum-containing culture condition, except for SK-N-SH neuroblastoma, in which Nurr1 mRNA was undetectable. The levels of Nurr1, NGFI-B and NOR-1 mRNA were elevated markedly in NTera2 teratocarcinoma-derived neurons (NTera2-N), a model of differentiated human neurons, following a 1.5 or 3 h-exposure to 1 mM dibutyryl cyclic AMP or 100 nm phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. NGFI-B mRNA levels were also elevated in NTera2-N cells by exposure to 100 ng/mL brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). To identify Nurr1-target genes, the mRNA expression of 27 genes potentially involved in dopaminergic neuronal differentiation and survival, including BDNF, glia-derived neurotrophic factor, their receptors, tyrosine hydroxylase and alpha-synuclein, were studied in HEK293 cells following overexpression of Nurr1. None of these genes examined, however, showed significant changes. These results indicate that Nurr1, NGFI-B and NOR-1 mRNA are expressed constitutively in various human neural and non-neural cell lines under the serum-containing culture condition, and their levels are up-regulated in human neurons by activation of protein kinase A or protein kinase C pathway, although putative coactivators expressed in dopaminergic neuronal precursor cells might be required for efficient transcriptional activation of Nurr1-target genes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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