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Mol Cells. 2008 Jul 31;26(1):12-7. Epub 2008 May 20.

Apoptotic cell death in TrkA-overexpressing cells: kinetic regulation of ERK phosphorylation and caspase-7 activation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and RINS, MRCND and Institute of Health Sciences, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Jinju 660-751, Korea.


The TrkA tyrosine kinase is activated by autophosphorylation in response to NGF, and plays an important role in cell survival, differentiation, and apoptosis. To investigate its role in cell fate determination, we produced stable TrkA-inducible SK-N-MC and U2OS cell lines using the Tet-On system. Interestingly, TrkA overexpression induced substantial cell death even in the absence of NGF, by stimulating ERK phosphorylation and caspase-7 activation leading to PARP cleavage. TrkA-mediated cell death was shown by the annexin-V binding assay to be, at least in part, apoptotic in both SK-N-MC and U2OS cells. Furthermore, the truncated form (p18) of Bax accumulated in the TrkA-induced cells, suggesting that TrkA induces mitochondria-mediated apoptosis. NGF treatment augmented the cell death induced by TrkA overexpression. This TrkA-induced cell death was blocked by the tyrosine kinase inhibitors, K-252a and GW441756. Moreover, TrkA overexpression inhibited long-term proliferation of both the neuronal SK-N-MC cells and the non-neuronal U2OS cells, suggesting a potential role of TrkA as a tumor suppressor.

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