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J Neurosci Res. 2001 Jan 1;63(1):45-53.

p21(ras) stimulates pathways in addition to ERK, p38, and Akt to induce elongation of neurites in PC12 cells.

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Department of Neuroscience, 4068 Graves Hall, College of Medicine and Public Health, The Ohio State University, 333 West Tenth Ave., Columbus, OH 43210.


Initiation and elongation of neurites in PC12 cells has been shown to be stimulated by nerve growth factor (NGF). Initiation of NGF-stimulated neurites in a PC12 subclone (PC12-N09) is rapid, giving rise to short neurites that do not elongate after 1 day. To determine whether increasing activation of p21(ras) could restore neurite elongation in these cells and whether it would affect the phosphorylation of signaling proteins, the subclone PC12-N09 was transfected with constitutively active p21(ras61L) (PC12-N09ras61L) and neurite outgrowth with or without NGF was determined. Overexpression of wild-type p21(ras) (PC12-N09rasWT) did not lead to spontaneous neurite initiation but restored the ability of NGF to stimulate continuous neurite elongation. However, NGF-stimulated phosphorylation of ERK, p38, and Akt in PC12-N09rasWT cells is similar in duration to that in PC12-N09 cells, indicating that the p21(ras) signaling through ERK, p38, and Akt was not involved in the restoration of normal neurite elongation in PC12-N09 cells. These results show that p21(ras)-activated pathways other than ERK, p38, and Akt are necessary for appropriate NGF-stimulated neurite elongation in PC12 cells.

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