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J Biochem. 1999 Mar;125(3):541-53.

Nerve growth factor induces zif268 gene expression via MAPK-dependent and -independent pathways in PC12D cells.

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Department of Neurochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-0033, Japan.


In this study we examined the contribution of MAPK1 and 2 [also known as extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK)-1 and 2] to the induction of zif268 mRNA in PC12D cells by using two methods to block the activation of these kinases. In one set of experiments, we inhibited the activation of MAPK by pretreating cells with PD098059, a specific inhibitor of MEK (MAPKK), the immediate upstream activator of MAPK. In the second set of experiments, we blocked the activation of MAPK by overexpressing N17Ras, a dominant-negative form of Ha-Ras. These two approaches yielded similar results and showed that inhibition of MAPK blocks less than half of the induction of zif268 mRNA by NGF. Much of the residual induction of zif268 mRNA is blocked by low concentrations of wortmannin, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase. Since PI 3-kinase was previously shown to function upstream in epidermal growth factor (EGF)-mediated activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and JNK is known to phosphorylate and activate transcription factors that regulate the expression of zif268, we investigated the role of JNK in the induction of zif268 mRNA by NGF. Stimulation of PC12D cells with NGF weakly activates JNK, but this activation is enhanced rather than inhibited by pretreatment with wortmannin, suggesting that JNK does not function downstream of PI 3-kinase in the induction of zif268 mRNA. A role for JNK in the induction of the zif268 gene is indicated, however, by the fact that cotransfection of expression vectors encoding JIP-1 or the JNK binding domain of JIP-1, which act as dominant-negative inhibitors of JNK, partially blocks the NGF-mediated induction of a luciferase reporter gene linked to the zif268 promoter. Together, these results suggest that MAPK, PI-3 kinase and JNK each play a role in the induction of zif268 gene expression by NGF in PC12D cells.

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