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J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 26;288(17):12152-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.447771. Epub 2013 Mar 12.

LINGO-1 receptor promotes neuronal apoptosis by inhibiting WNK3 kinase activity.

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Institute of Neuroscience and MOE Key Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology, Neuroscience Research Center of Changzheng Hospital, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.


LINGO-1 is a functional component of the Nogo receptor 1 · p75(NTR) · LINGO-1 and Nogo receptor 1 · TAJ (TNFRSF19/TROY)·LINGO-1 signaling complexes. It has recently been shown that LINGO-1 antagonists significantly improve neuronal survival after neural injury. However, the mechanism by which LINGO-1 signaling influences susceptibility to apoptosis remains unknown. In an effort to better understand how LINGO-1 regulates these signaling pathways, we used an established model of serum deprivation (SD) to induce neuronal apoptosis. We demonstrate that treatment either with a construct containing the intracellular domain of LINGO-1 or with Nogo66, a LINGO-1 receptor complex agonist, resulted in an enhanced rate of apoptosis in primary cultured cortical neurons under SD. Reducing the expression levels of the serine/threonine kinase WNK3 using shRNA or inhibiting its kinase activity had similar effects on the survival of serum-deprived neurons. Consistent with these observations, we found that LINGO-1 and WNK3 co-localized and co-precipitated in cultured cortical neurons and brain tissue. Significantly, this co-association was enhanced by Nogo66 treatment. Binding of WNK3 to the intracellular domain of LINGO-1 led to a reduction in WNK3 kinase activity, as did Nogo66 stimulation. Moreover, in vitro and in vivo evidence indicates that endogenous WNK3 suppresses SD-induced neuronal apoptosis in a kinase-dependent manner, as the expression of either a WNK3 RNAi construct or a kinase-dead N-terminal fragment of WNK3 led to increased apoptosis. Taken together, our results show that LINGO-1 potentiates neuronal apoptosis, likely by inhibiting WNK3 kinase activity.

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