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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2003 Nov;24(3):632-45.

Cdk5/p35 and Rho-kinase mediate ephrin-A5-induced signaling in retinal ganglion cells.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Neurobiology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama, 236-0004, Japan.


Ephrin-As are repulsive axonal guidance cues that regulate retinotectal projection. EphA tyrosine kinases, which are the receptors of ephrin-As, activate signaling cascades leading to cytosckeleton reorganization. Here, we address the role of cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) 5 in Eph receptor signaling induced by ephrin-A5. Ephrin-A5 induced a cell morphological response in PC-3M cells that endogenously express Cdk5 and EphA2, a receptor for ephrin-A5. This response was augmented by the transfection of p35, which is a neuronal regulator of Cdk5. While the morphological response of native PC-3M cells was not affected by olomoucine, an inhibitor of Cdk, the response was inhibited in the p35-transfected cells. In retinal ganglion cells, either olomoucine at 20 microM or Y-27632 at 10 microM, an inhibitor of Rho-kinase/ROKalpha/ROCKII, showed maximum inhibitory effect against ephrin-A5 (10 microg/ml)-induced growth cone collapse. Combined application of olomoucine and Y-27632 further suppressed the ephrin-A5-induced response. Ephrin-A5 evoked phosphorylation of Cdk5 at Tyr15 and tau, a substrate of Cdk5 in retinal growth cones. Recombinant herpes simplex virus expressing Cdk5 mutant (kinase-negative or Tyr15 to Ala) showed a dominant-negative effect on the ephrin-A5-induced growth cone collapse. These findings demonstrate that both Cdk5 and the Rho kinase pathway independently contribute to the downstream of ephrin-A-induced signaling in retinal ganglion cells.

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