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Brain Res. 1992 Sep 25;591(2):261-70.

Phosphorylation and activation of tyrosine hydroxylase in PC18 cells: a cell line derived from rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver 80262.


Treatment of rat pheochromocytoma PC18 cells (a variant subclone of PC12 cells) with forskolin produced increased activity and phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase. In contrast, treatment of the PC18 cells with 56 mM K+, A23187, phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) or phorbol-12,13-dibutyrate (PDB) did not affect the activity and only slightly increased the phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase. None of the treatments except forskolin increased cyclic AMP levels in PC18 cells. Furthermore, 45Ca2+ uptake into PC18 cells was not affected by 56 mM K+, PDB or forskolin; however, A23187 increased 45Ca2+ uptake 4-fold over basal uptake. Nevertheless, no activation and little increase in phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase was observed in PC18 cells treated with A23187. When tyrosine hydroxylase levels in PC18 cells were elevated by treatment with dexamethasone, activation of tyrosine hydroxylase by 56 mM K+, PDB or A23187 was still not observed. Both purified Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase and cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase catalyzed the phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase purified from PC18 cells in vitro. Furthermore, crude cell extracts from PC12 cells and PC18 cells possessed Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase activity that catalyzed the phosphorylation of purified tyrosine hydroxylase. These results suggest that tyrosine hydroxylase activity in PC18 cells is regulated by a cyclic AMP-dependent mechanism. However, due to a number of abnormalities the Ca(2+)-dependent mechanisms do not result in the activation of tyrosine hydroxylase and only slightly increase the phosphorylation of the enzyme in PC18 cells.

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