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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 May;26(9):3625-38.

Molecular mechanisms of Ca(2+) signaling in neurons induced by the S100A4 protein.

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  • 1Protein Laboratory, Panum Institute, Blegdamsvej 3C, Bld. 6.2, Copenhagen 2200N, Denmark.


The S100A4 protein belongs to the S100 family of vertebrate-specific proteins possessing both intra- and extracellular functions. In the nervous system, high levels of S100A4 expression are observed at sites of neurogenesis and lesions, suggesting a role of the protein in neuronal plasticity. Extracellular oligomeric S100A4 is a potent promoter of neurite outgrowth and survival from cultured primary neurons; however, the molecular mechanism of this effect has not been established. Here we demonstrate that oligomeric S100A4 increases the intracellular calcium concentration in primary neurons. We present evidence that both S100A4-induced Ca(2+) signaling and neurite extension require activation of a cascade including a heterotrimeric G protein(s), phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C, and diacylglycerol-lipase, resulting in Ca(2+) entry via nonselective cation channels and via T- and L-type voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. We demonstrate that S100A4-induced neurite outgrowth is not mediated by the receptor for advanced glycation end products, a known target for other extracellular S100 proteins. However, S100A4-induced signaling depends on interactions with heparan sulfate proteoglycans at the cell surface. Thus, glycosaminoglycans may act as coreceptors of S100 proteins in neurons. This may provide a mechanism by which S100 proteins could locally regulate neuronal plasticity in connection with brain lesions and neurological disorders.

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