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J Biol Chem. 2011 May 20;286(20):18190-201. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.236133. Epub 2011 Mar 28.

Spatial phosphoprotein profiling reveals a compartmentalized extracellular signal-regulated kinase switch governing neurite growth and retraction.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA.


Brain development and spinal cord regeneration require neurite sprouting and growth cone navigation in response to extension and collapsing factors present in the extracellular environment. These external guidance cues control neurite growth cone extension and retraction processes through intracellular protein phosphorylation of numerous cytoskeletal, adhesion, and polarity complex signaling proteins. However, the complex kinase/substrate signaling networks that mediate neuritogenesis have not been investigated. Here, we compare the neurite phosphoproteome under growth and retraction conditions using neurite purification methodology combined with mass spectrometry. More than 4000 non-redundant phosphorylation sites from 1883 proteins have been annotated and mapped to signaling pathways that control kinase/phosphatase networks, cytoskeleton remodeling, and axon/dendrite specification. Comprehensive informatics and functional studies revealed a compartmentalized ERK activation/deactivation cytoskeletal switch that governs neurite growth and retraction, respectively. Our findings provide the first system-wide analysis of the phosphoprotein signaling networks that enable neurite growth and retraction and reveal an important molecular switch that governs neuritogenesis.

© 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

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