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Biochem J. 1997 Jun 1;324 ( Pt 2):365-9.

Activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase and p70S6 kinase is not correlated with cerebellar granule cell survival.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, School of Medical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, U.K.


We have investigated the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in the survival of cerebellar granule cells in primary culture. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and insulin, but not epidermal growth factor (EGF), promoted the survival of P6 cerebellar granule neurons. BDNF promoted a sustained activation of MAP kinase, whereas that induced by EGF was only transient. Insulin promoted a small but transient activation of MAP kinase that was completely blocked by PD98059, an inhibitor of MAP kinase kinase activation. PD98059 had no effect on the insulin- or BDNF-induced survival of cerebellar granule cells. We also investigated the role of p70S6 kinase in survival. The activation of p70S6 kinase by EGF was transient, whereas BDNF and insulin promoted a sustained activation of p70S6 kinase. Rapamycin, which blocked p70S6 kinase activation, had no effect on the BDNF- or insulin-induced survival of cerebellar granule cells. We conclude that sustained activation of MAP kinase is not correlated with the survival response of cerebellar granule cells; indeed insulin-mediated survival is independent of MAP kinase. Survival of cerebellar granule cells is also independent of the activation of p70S6 kinase.

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