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Neuron. 1993 Nov;11(5):865-75.

The Wnt-1 proto-oncogene induces changes in morphology, gene expression, and growth factor responsiveness in PC12 cells.

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Division of Hematology-Oncology, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, California.


The product of the Wnt-1 proto-oncogene is a secreted glycoprotein that is normally produced in regions of the embryonic neural tube. We show here that expression of mouse Wnt-1 cDNA in the rat PC12 pheochromocytoma cell line causes a dramatic conversion from a round to a flat cell morphology. In addition, PC12 cells expressing Wnt-1 (PC12/Wnt-1) fail to extend neurites after treatment with NGF, despite the presence and activation of high affinity NGF receptors encoded by the trk gene and the induction of early response genes. Furthermore, PC12/Wnt-1 cells fail to express several neuron- and chromaffin-specific genes, indicating that PC12/Wnt-1 cells have assumed a new phenotype. Although NGF and FGF utilize similar signal transduction pathways in PC12 cells, only FGF is capable of inducing a morphological response and synthesis of transin mRNA in PC12/Wnt-1 cells.

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