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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2003 Jan;22(1):118-32.

Activation of Ras is necessary and sufficient for upregulation of vanilloid receptor type 1 in sensory neurons by neurotrophic factors.

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Novartis Institute for Medical Sciences (NIMS), 5 Gower Place, London WC1E 6BN, Great Britain.


We have analyzed signaling pathways involved in neurotrophic factor (NTF)-induced upregulation of nociceptive properties, specifically vanilloid receptor type 1 (VR1), by adult rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. Upregulation of VR1 by nerve growth factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor is partially blocked by a MEK inhibitor. Dominant negative Ras, but not Rap, blocks NTF-induced ERK activation and VR1 upregulation. Activated Ras mimics NTF-mediated induction of VR1 in dorsal root ganglion neurons. An inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, LY294002, also inhibited NTF-induced VR1 upregulation. However, this may at least in part be due to a block of NTF-induced ERK activation. Constitutive simultaneous stimulation of both ERK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase is not sufficient for VR1 upregulation. Together, the data suggest that VR1 expression by dorsal root ganglion neurons is regulated by common Ras-dependent pathways.

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