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Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Sep;11(9):4739-50.

Induction of neurite outgrowth by v-src mimics critical aspects of nerve growth factor-induced differentiation.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Microbiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia 19104.


PC12 cells treated with nerve growth factor (NGF) or infected with Rous sarcoma virus differentiate into sympathetic, neuronlike cells. To compare the differentiation programs induced by NGF and v-src, we have established a PC12 cell line expressing a temperature-sensitive v-src protein. The v-src-expressing PC12 cell line was shown to elaborate neuritic processes in a temperature-inducible manner, indicating that the differentiation process was dependent on the activity of the v-src protein. Further characterization of this cell line, in comparison with NGF-treated PC12 cells, indicated that the events associated with neurite outgrowth induced by these two agents shared features but could be distinguished by others. Both NGF- and v-src-induced neurite outgrowths were reversible. In addition, NGF and v-src could prime PC12 cells for NGF-induced neurite outgrowth, and representative early and late NGF-responsive genes were also induced by v-src. However, unlike NGF-induced neurite growth, v-src-induced neurite outgrowth was not blocked at high cell density. A comparison of phosphotyrosine containing-protein profiles showed that v-src and NGF each increase tyrosine phosphorylation of multiple cellular proteins. There was overlap in substrates; however, both NGF-specific and v-src-specific tyrosine phosphorylations were observed. One protein which was found to be phosphorylated in both the NGF- and v-src-induced PC12 cells was phospholipase C-gamma 1. Taken together, these results suggest that v-src's ability to function as an inducing agent may be a consequence of its ability to mimic critical aspects of the NGF differentiation program and raise the possibility that Src-like tyrosine kinases are involved in mediating some of the events triggered by NGF.

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