Effect of a dominant inhibitory Ha-ras mutation on neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells

József Szeberényi, Hong Cai, Geoffrey M. Cooper

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A dominant inhibitory mutation of Ha-ras which changes Ser-17 to Asn-17 in the gene product p21 [p21 (Asn-17)Ha-ras] has been used to investigate the role of ras in neuronal differentiation of PC12 cells. The growth of PC12 cells, in contrast to NIH 3T3 cells, was not inhibited by p21(Asn-17)Ha-ras expression. However, PC12 cells expressing the mutant Ha-ras protein showed a marked inhibition of morphological differentiation induced by nerve growth factor (NGF) or fibroblast growth factor (FGF). These cells, however, were still able to respond with neurite outgrowth to dibutyryl cyclic AMP and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Induction of early-response genes (fos, jun, and zif268) by NGF and FGF but not by TPA was also inhibited by high levels of p21(Asn-17)Ha-ras. However, lower levels of p21(Asn-17) expression were sufficient to block neuronal differentiation without inhibiting induction of these early-response genes. Induction of the secondary-response genes SCG10 and transin by NGF, like morphological differentiation, was inhibited by low levels of p21(Asn-17) whether or not induction of early-response genes was blocked. Therefore, although inhibition of ras function can inhibit early-response gene induction, this is not required to block morphological differentiation or secondary-response gene expression. These results suggest that ras proteins are involved in at least two different pathways of signal transduction from the NGF receptor, which can be distinguished by differential sensitivity to p21(Asn-17)Ha-ras. In addition, ras and protein kinase C can apparently induce early-response gene expression by independent pathways in PC12 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5324-5332
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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