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J Neurosci. 1998 Dec 15;18(24):10429-37.

Neurite outgrowth stimulated by neural cell adhesion molecules requires growth-associated protein-43 (GAP-43) function and is associated with GAP-43 phosphorylation in growth cones.

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Department of Pharmacology, State University of New York Health Science Center, Syracuse, New York 13210, USA.


The mechanisms whereby cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) promote axonal growth and synaptic plasticity are poorly understood. Here we show that the neurite outgrowth stimulated by NCAM-mediated fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor activation in cerebellar granule cells is associated with increased GAP-43 phosphorylation on serine-41. In contrast, neither NCAM nor FGF was able to stimulate neurite outgrowth in similar neurons from mice in which the GAP-43 gene had been deleted by homologous recombination. Integrin-mediated neurite outgrowth was unaffected by GAP-43 deletion. Both neurite outgrowth and rapid phosphorylation of GAP-43 in isolated growth cones required the first three Ig domains of a NCAM-Fc chimera and were stimulated maximally at 5 micrograms/ml (approximately 50 nM). Likewise, GAP-43 phosphorylation in isolated growth cones also was stimulated by an L1-Fc chimera. Both neurite outgrowth and NCAM-stimulated GAP-43 phosphorylation were inhibited by antibodies to the FGF receptor and a diacylglycerol lipase inhibitor (RHC80267) that blocks the production of arachidonic acid in response to activation of the FGF receptor. Direct activation of the FGF receptor and the arachidonic acid cascade with either basic FGF or melittin also resulted in increased GAP-43 phosphorylation. These data suggest that the stimulation of neurite outgrowth by NCAM requires GAP-43 function and that GAP-43 phosphorylation in isolated growth cones occurs via an FGF receptor-dependent increase in arachidonic acid.

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