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J Biol Chem. 1995 Sep 22;270(38):22135-42.

Neurotrophins induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis. Modulation by co-expression of p75NTR with Trk receptors.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


We examined neurotrophin-induced sphingomyelin hydrolysis in cells expressing solely the low affinity neurotrophin receptor, p75NTR, and in PC12 cells that co-express p75NTR and Trk receptors. Nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin-3 (NT-3), and NT-5 stimulated sphinomyelin hydrolysis with similar kinetics in p75NTR-NIH-3T3 cells. Although brain-derived neurotrophic factor (10 ng/ml) was slightly more potent than NGF at inducing sphingomyelin hydrolysis, NT-3 and NT-5 induced significant hydrolysis (30-35%) at 0.1 to 1 ng/ml in p75NTR-NIH-3T3 cells. NT-3 did not induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis in Trk C-NIH-3T3 cells nor in cells expressing a mutated p75NTR containing a 57-amino acid cytoplasmic deletion, thus demonstrating the role of p75NTR in this signal transduction pathway. In p75NTR-NIH-3T3 cells, neurotrophin-induced sphingomyelin hydrolysis 1) localized to an internal pool of sphingomyelin, 2) was not a consequence of receptor internalization, and 3) showed no specificity with respect to the molecular species of sphingomyelin hydrolyzed. In contrast to cells expressing solely p75NTR, NGF (100 ng/ml) did not induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis in PC12 cells. Interestingly, NT-3 (10 ng/ml) induced the same extent of sphingomyelin hydrolysis in PC12 cells as was apparent in p75NTR-NIH-3T3 cells. However, in the presence of NGF, NT-3 was unable to induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis, raising the possibility that Trk was modulating p75NTR-dependent sphingomyelin hydrolysis. Inhibition of Trk tyrosine kinase activity with 200 nM K252a enabled both NGF and NT-3 in the presence of NGF to induce sphingomyelin hydrolysis. These data support that p75NTR serves as a common signaling receptor for neurotrophins through induction of sphingomyelin hydrolysis and that crosstalk pathways exist between Trk and p75NTR-dependent signaling pathways.

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