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J Biol Chem. 2006 Feb 10;281(6):3067-74. Epub 2005 Nov 29.

Sustained activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/nuclear factor kappaB signaling mediates G protein-coupled delta-opioid receptor gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA. chenx112@tc.umn.edu


Expression of the delta-opioid receptor gene (dor) is tightly controlled during neuronal differentiation and developmental stages. Such distinct temporal and spatial expression of dor during development suggests a role for the delta-opioid receptor in early developmental events. However, little is known about intracellular signaling pathways that control dor expression. A well established cell line model for the study of gene expression during neuronal differentiation is the rat adrenal pheochromocytoma PC12 cell line. Here we found that the constitutively activated TrkA/phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (protein kinase B)/NF-kappaB survival cascade mediates dor expression during nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced differentiation of PC12h cells. Biochemical experiments showed that constitutive phosphorylation of Akt and IkappaBalpha correlates with NGF-induced dor expression. Overexpression of the transcriptional activator NF-kappaB/p65 increased dor promoter activity. Overexpression of the NF-kappaB signaling super inhibitor mutant IkappaBalpha (S32A/S36A) abolished the effect of p65 and blocked NGF-induced activation of NF-kappaB signaling, resulting in a significant reduction in dor promoter activity. Treatment with SN50, an NF-kappaB-specific nuclear translocation peptide inhibitor, inhibited the translocation of NF-kappaB, resulting in a reduction of dor mRNA. The gel shift assay supported the fact that there exists an NF-kappaB-binding site on the dor promoter. RNA interference experiments using NF-kappaB/p65 small interfering RNA confirmed that NF-kappaB signaling is required for dor expression. Our findings not only provide a new mechanistic explanation for NGF-induced dor expression but also shed some light on the molecular mechanism of the temporal and spatial expression of dor and the roles of the delta-opioid receptor during neuronal differentiation.

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