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Oncogene. 1995 Jul 20;11(2):239-44.

Induction of neurite outgrowth by MAP kinase in PC12 cells.

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  • 1Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, Kyoto University, Japan.


Treatment of PC12 cells with nerve growth factor (NGF) results in neural differentiation of the cells, inducing neurite outgrowth. Ras protein has been shown to play an essential role in this process. To examine whether or not the MAP kinase (MAPK) cascade mediates the NGF- and Ras-induced neural differentiation process, we injected PC12 cells with constitutive active forms of each components of the MAPK cascade. When a moderately active mutant of Xenopus MAPK kinase (S222E-MAPKK) in which Ser 222 was changed into glutamic acid was injected, the neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells occurred to some extent. Injection of an N-terminal truncated STE11 protein (delta N-STE11), a constitutively active form of STE11 which is a yeast MAPKK kinase, induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Furthermore, injection of thiophosphorylated MAPK, but not purified active MAPK, into PC12 cells resulted in neurite outgrowth. Thiophosphorylated MAPK was resistant to protein phosphatase 2A treatment, while purified active MAPK was inactivated by this treatment. All these results have suggested that sustained activation of MAPK is sufficient for PC12 cell differentiation. In accord with this, the delta N-STE11- or S222E- MAPKK-induced neurite outgrowth was inhibited by coinjection of CL-100 protein, a dual-specificity phosphatase that is capable of inactivating MAPK.

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