Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 1999 Nov 15;19(22):9716-27.

Ras regulates sympathetic neuron survival by suppressing the p53-mediated cell death pathway.

Author information

Center for Neuronal Survival, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2B4.


In this report, we examine how the Ras protein regulates neuronal survival, focusing on sympathetic neurons. Adenovirus-expressed constitutively activated Ras (RasV12) enhanced survival and the phosphorylation of Akt (protein kinase B) and MAP kinase (MAPK), two targets of Ras activity. Functional inhibition of endogenous Ras by adenovirus-expressed dominant-inhibitory Ras (N17Ras) decreased nerve growth factor (NGF)-dependent survival and both Akt and MAPK phosphorylation as well. To determine the signaling pathways through which Ras mediates survival, we used Ras effector mutants and pharmacological inhibitors that selectively suppress phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt or MAP kinase kinase (MEK)/MAPK pathways. The Ras effector mutant Ras(V12)Y40C, which selectively stimulates PI3-K and Akt, rescued survival in the absence of NGF, and the PI3-K inhibitor LY 294002 inhibited both Ras- and NGF-dependent survival. Ras(V12)T(35)S, which activates MEK/MAPK but not PI3-K/Akt, was less effective at rescuing survival, whereas the MEK inhibitor PD 098059 also partially suppressed Ras-dependent survival. To investigate the mechanisms by which Ras suppresses neuronal death, we examined whether Ras functions by inhibiting the proapoptotic p53 pathway (Jun-N-terminal kinase/p53/BAX) that is necessary for neuronal death after NGF withdrawal and p75NTR activation. We found that RasV12 suppressed c-jun, BAX, and p53 levels, whereas inhibition of NGF-induced Ras-survival activity via N17Ras increased the levels of these proteins. Furthermore, the E1B55K protein, which suppresses p53 activity, blocked N17Ras-induced neuronal death. Together, these results indicate that Ras is, in part, both necessary and sufficient for survival of sympathetic neurons and that this effect is mediated by activation of both the PI3-K- and MEK-signaling cascades, which in turn suppress a proapoptotic p53 pathway.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center