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J Biol Chem. 1992 Jan 5;267(1):13-6.

K-252a inhibits nerve growth factor-induced trk proto-oncogene tyrosine phosphorylation and kinase activity.

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Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York 10021.


The rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cell line differentiates into a sympathetic neuronal phenotype upon treatment with either nerve growth factor (NGF) or basic fibroblast growth factor. The alkaloid-like compound K-252a has been demonstrated to be a specific inhibitor of NGF-induced biological responses in PC12 cells (Koizumi, S., Contreras, M. L., Matsuda, Y., Hama, T., Lazarovici, P., and Guroff, G. (1988) J. Neurosci. Res. 8, 715-721). NGF interacts with the protein product of the proto-oncogene trk and rapidly stimulates the tyrosine phosphorylation of both p140prototrk and a number of cellular substrates. Here we show that these phosphorylation events are directly inhibited in PC12 cells by K252a in a dose-dependent manner, indicating that the site of action of this inhibitor is at the NGF receptor level. K-252a inhibits p140prototrk activity in vitro, demonstrating that K-252a has a direct effect on the p140prototrk tyrosine kinase. Though many of the biochemical responses to NGF in PC12 cells are mimicked by basic fibroblast growth factor and epidermal growth factor, K-252a has no effect on the action of these growth factors in PC12 cells, demonstrating that the initial biological events initiated by NGF are distinctive during neuronal differentiation.

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