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J Neurochem. 2000 May;74(5):2058-66.

Nerve growth factor-induced phosphorylation of SNAP-25 in PC12 cells: a possible involvement in the regulation of SNAP-25 localization.

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Project Research Center, Mitsubishikasei Institute of Life Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.


Synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa (SNAP-25), a t-SNARE protein essential for neurotransmitter release, is phosphorylated at Ser187 following activation of cellular protein kinase C by treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. However, it remains unclear whether neuronal activity or an endogenous ligand induces the phosphorylation of SNAP-25. Here we studied the phosphorylation of SNAP-25 in PC12 cells using a specific antibody for SNAP-25 phosphorylated at Ser187. A small fraction of SNAP-25 was phosphorylated when cells were grown in the absence of nerve growth factor (NGF). A brief treatment with NGF that was enough to activate the mitogen-activated protein kinase signal transduction pathway did not increase the phosphorylation of SNAP-25; however, phosphorylation was up-regulated after a prolonged incubation with NGF. Up-regulation was transitory, and maximum phosphorylation (a fourfold increase over basal phosphorylation) was achieved between 36 and 48 h after the addition of NGF. Immunofluorescent microscopy showed that SNAP-25 was localized primarily in the plasma membrane, although a significant population was also present in the cytoplasm. Quantitative microfluorometry revealed that prolonged treatment with NGF resulted in a preferential localization of SNAP-25 in the plasma membrane. A mutational study using a fusion protein with green fluorescent protein as a tag indicated that the point mutation of Ser187 to Ala abolished the NGF-dependent relocalization. A population of SNAP-25 in the plasma membrane was not increased by a point mutation at Ser187 to Glu; however, it was increased by prolonged treatment with NGF, indicating that the SNAP-25 phosphorylation is essential, but not sufficient, for the NGF-induced relocation to the plasma membrane. Our results suggest a close temporal relationship between the up-regulation of SNAP-25 phosphorylation and its relocation, and NGF-induced differentiation of PC12 cells.

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