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Neurochem Int. 2004 Nov;45(6):833-43.

Elements of the nitric oxide/cGMP pathway expressed in cerebellar granule cells: biochemical and functional characterisation.

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Departamento de Bioquímica, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, 28040-Madrid, Spain.


It is known that the nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP pathway affects neuronal development and the expression of the different proteins is developmentally dependent in several brain areas. However, so far there are no data on the expression of the proteins involved in this signalling system during the development of the cerebellar granule cell, one of the most widely used models of neuronal development. This study was accordingly designed to analyse the developmental regulation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), soluble guanylyl cyclase subunits (alpha1, alpha2 and beta1) and cGMP-dependent protein kinases (cGK I and cGK II) in cerebellar granule cells through real time-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blotting. We were able to detect guanylyl cyclase subunits and cGK I and cGK II in cerebellar granule cells at every stage of development examined (cells freshly isolated from 7-day-old rat pups, and cells cultured for 7 days or 14 days). Expression levels, nevertheless, varied significantly at each stage. nNOS, alpha2 and beta1 and cGK II levels increased during granule cell development, while alpha1 and cGK I showed an opposite behaviour pattern; the levels of these latter proteins diminished as the cells matured. The functionality of this pathway was assessed by stimulating cells kept in culture for 7 days with DEA/NO or with N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA). Cells responded by increasing intracellular cGMP and activating cGMP-dependent protein kinase activity, which effectively phosphorylated two well-known substrates of this activity, the vasodilator stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) and the cAMP response element binding protein (CREB). In summary, through both functional and biochemical tests, this is the first demonstration of a complete NO/cGMP signalling transduction pathway in cerebellar granule cells. Our results also indicate the developmental regulation of the proteins in this system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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