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Exp Cell Res. 2006 Sep 10;312(15):2954-61. Epub 2006 Jun 7.

JNK phosphorylation of paxillin, acting through the Rac1 and Cdc42 signaling cascade, mediates neurite extension in N1E-115 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, 2-10-1 Oukura, Setagaya, Tokyo 157-8535, Japan.


Neurons extend neurites from the cell body before formation of the polarized processes of an axon and dendrites. Neurite outgrowth involves remodeling of the cytoskeletal components, which are initially regulated by small GTPases of the Rho family. Here we show that c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), which is controlled by Rho GTPases Rac1 and Cdc42, is activated following neurite extension in mouse N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells as a model. The extension is inhibited by JNK inhibitors (SP600125 and the small JNK-binding peptide) and Clostridium difficile Toxin B, the inhibitor for Rho GTPases. Additionally, paxillin, the multifunctional focal adhesion protein, is phosphorylated at Ser 178 by upregulation of the Rac1/Cdc42/JNK cascade. Conversely, transfection of the paxillin construct harboring the Ser 178-to-Ala mutation into cells inhibits neurite extension. Taken together, these results suggest the novel role of the Rac1/Cdc42/JNK signaling cascade in neurite extension and indicate that the downstream target paxillin may be one of the convergent points of various signaling pathways underlying neurite extension.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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