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J Neurosci. 1999 Jan 15;19(2):664-73.

A role for MAPK/ERK in sympathetic neuron survival: protection against a p53-dependent, JNK-independent induction of apoptosis by cytosine arabinoside.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, Cambridge University, Cambridge, CB2 1QW, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The antimitotic nucleoside cytosine arabinoside (araC) causes apoptosis in postmitotic neurons for which two mechanisms have been suggested: (1) araC directly inhibits a trophic factor-maintained signaling pathway required for survival, effectively mimicking trophic factor withdrawal; and (2) araC induces apoptosis by a p53-dependent mechanism distinct from trophic factor withdrawal. In rat sympathetic neurons, we found that araC treatment for 12 hr induced approximately 25% apoptosis without affecting NGF-maintained signaling; there was neither reduction in the activity of mitogen activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MAPK/ERK) or protein kinase B/Akt, a kinase implicated in NGF-mediated survival, nor was there c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation or c-Jun N-terminal phosphorylation, events implicated in apoptosis induced by NGF withdrawal. However, araC treatment, but not NGF-withdrawal, elevated expression of p53 protein before and during apoptosis. Additionally, araC-induced apoptosis was suppressed in sympathetic neurons from p53 null mice. Although MAPK/ERK activity is not necessary for NGF-induced survival, it protected against toxicity by araC, because inhibition of the MAPK pathway by PD98059 resulted in a significant increase in the rate of apoptosis induced by araC in the presence of NGF. Consistent with this finding, ciliary neurotrophic factor, which does not cause sustained activation of MAPK/ERK, did not protect against araC toxicity. Our data show that, in contrast to NGF deprivation, araC induces apoptosis via a p53-dependent, JNK-independent mechanism, against which MAPK/ERK plays a substantial protective role. Thus, NGF can suppress apoptotic mechanisms in addition to those caused by its own deprivation.

PMID:
9880587
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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