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J Neurochem. 2002 Sep;82(6):1424-34.

Mixed lineage kinase 3 mediates gp120IIIB-induced neurotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Overexpression of gp120, the major coat protein of the HIV-1 virus, in central glial cells, or treatment of neurons with gp120 in culture, produces apoptotic neuronal death. Here we demonstrate that CEP-1347 (KT7515), an inhibitor of mixed lineage kinase 3 (MLK3), an upstream activator of JNK, inhibits gp120IIIB-induced apoptosis of hippocampal neurons. Furthermore, expression of wild type MLK3 in hippocampal pyramidal neurons enhanced gp120IIIB-induced neurotoxicity, whereas expression of a dominant negative MLK3 protected neurons from the toxic effects of the glycoprotein. These results indicate a role for MLK3 signaling in gp120IIIB-induced neuronal death, and suggest potential clinical utility of CEP-1347 in inhibiting the progression of AIDS dementia.

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