Send to

Choose Destination
J Cell Biol. 1992 Jul;118(2):411-9.

Thrombin receptor activation causes rapid neural cell rounding and neurite retraction independent of classic second messengers.

Author information

Division of Cellular Biochemistry, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam.


The protease thrombin is a potent activator of various cell types. Thrombin cleaves and thereby activates its own seven-transmembrane-domain receptor which couples to G proteins. Thrombin also can inhibit neuronal differentiation, supposedly by degrading components of the extracellular matrix. Here we report that active thrombin induces immediate cell rounding and neurite retraction in differentiating N1E-115 and NG108-15 neural cells in serum-free culture. Serum (0.5-5% vol/vol) evokes similar responses, but the cell-rounding and neurite-retracting activity of serum is not attributable to thrombin. Neural cell rounding is transient, subsiding after 10-15 min, and subject to homologous desensitization, whereas retracted neurites rapidly degenerate. Thrombin action is inhibited by cytochalasin, but not colchicine. A novel 14-amino acid peptide agonist of the thrombin receptor fully mimics thrombin's morphoregulatory activity, indicating that thrombin-induced shape changes are receptor-mediated and not secondary to extracellular matrix degradation. Although thrombin receptors couple to phosphoinositide hydrolysis and Ca2+ mobilization, thrombin-induced shape changes appear to depend neither on the Ca2+/protein kinase C- nor the cyclic nucleotide-mediated signal transduction pathways; however, the morphological response to thrombin is blocked by pervanadate, an inhibitor of tyrosine phosphatases, and by broad-specificity kinase inhibitors. Our results suggest that the thrombin receptor communicates to an as-yet-uncharacterized effector to reorganize the actin cytoskeleton and to reverse the differentiated phenotype of neural cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center