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J Biol Chem. 1995 Jun 9;270(23):13973-80.

Stimulation of cannabinoid receptor CB1 induces krox-24 expression in human astrocytoma cells.

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  • 1Sanofi Recherche, Montpellier, Paris, France.


The recent isolation and cloning of the G protein-coupled central cannabinoid receptor (CB1) from brain tissue has provided a molecular basis to elucidate how cannabinoid compounds may mediate their psychoactive effects. Here we report the high expression of cannabinoid receptors in human astrocytoma tumors of different grades, in the astrocytoma cell lines U373 MG and GL-15, as well as in normal astrocytes. From an analysis of the coupling mechanisms of functional CB1 receptors in U373 MG, we show that, in addition to the inhibition of adenylyl cyclase, activation by the cannabinoid agonist CP-55940 induces the expression of the immediate-early gene krox-24, also known as NGFI-A, zif/268, egr-1, and TIS8. The amount of Krox-24 protein and the level of Krox-24 DNA binding activity, as measured by Western blot and electrophoretic mobility shift assay, respectively, were also increased by the addition of CP-55940. These effects were blocked by incubation with pertussis toxin but not by treatment with hydrolysis-resistant cAMP analogues, suggesting that the transduction pathway between the cannabinoid receptor and krox-24 involves a pertussis toxin-sensitive GTP-binding protein and is independent of cAMP metabolism. The specific involvement of CB1 in Krox-24 induction was demonstrated in Chinese hamster ovary cells transfected with the human CB1 receptor and also in experiments using the CB1-selective cannabinoid antagonist SR 141716A.

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