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Exp Cell Res. 2001 Feb 15;263(2):254-64.

A differential role of extracellular signal-regulated kinase in stimulated PC12 pheochromocytoma cell movement.

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Transplantation and Immunobiology Group, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5K8, Canada.


Rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells have been widely used as a cell system for study of growth factor-stimulated cell functions. We report here that nerve growth factor (NGF) stimulated both chemotaxis (directional migration) and chemokinesis (random migration) of PC12 cells. Treatment with a MEK1/2-specific inhibitor (PD98059) or expression of a dominant negative variant of Ras differentially inhibited NGF-stimulated chemotaxis but not chemokinesis of PC12 cells. Priming of PC12 cells with NGF resulted in reduced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activation and loss of chemotactic, but not chemokinetic, response. In addition, NGF stimulation of ERK is known to involve an early transient phase of activation followed by a late sustained phase of activation; in contrast, epidermal growth factor (EGF) elicits only early transient ERK activation. We observed that like NGF, EGF also stimulated both chemotaxis and chemokinesis, and treatment with PD98059 abolished the EGF-stimulated chemotaxis. Therefore, the early transient phase of ERK activation functioned in signaling chemotaxis; the late sustained phase of ERK activation did not seem to have an essential role. In addition, our results suggested that chemotactic signaling required a threshold level of ERK activation; at below threshold level of ERK activation, chemotaxis would not occur.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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