Role of Ras in signal transduction from the nerve growth factor receptor: Relationship to protein kinase C, calcium and cyclic AMP

J. Szeberenyi, P. Erhardt, H. Cai, G. M. Cooper

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A dominant inhibitory ras mutant (Ha-ras Asn-17) has been used to investigate the role of Ras in nerve growth factor (NGF)-mediated signal transduction in PC12 cells. Expression of Ha-Ras Asn-17 blocks neuronal differentiation of these cells in response to NGF treatment. The Ha-Ras Asn-17 block was bypassed by treatment with NGF plus dibutyryl cAMP or NGF plus the Ca2+ ionophore ionomycin, but not by NGF plus 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate (TPA). Direct stimulation of the cAMP or Ca2+ pathways thus appeared to act synergistically with a Ras-independent NGF signaling pathway. This Ras-independent pathway was also distinct from protein kinase C, since its activity was not affected by protein kinase C down-regulation. It thus appears that NGF stimulation generates a Ras-independent intracellular signal that contributes to neuronal differentiation independently of the cAMP, Ca2+ or protein kinase C second messenger systems. Since TPA did not bypass the Ha-Ras Asn-17 block to differentiation, protein kinase C also did not appear to be sufficient for Ras-dependent pathways mediating NGF-induced differentiation. Down-regulation experiments further indicated that protein kinase C was not required for NGF induction of early response genes via either Ras-dependent or Ras-independent pathways. Moreover, the formation of inositol phosphates and mobilization of intracellular calcium in response to NGF was not inhibited in PC12 cells expressing the Ha-Ras Asn-17 protein. Therefore, although calcium was able to bypass the Ha-Ras Asn-17 block to PC12 differentiation, Ras activity was not required for activation of phospholipase C in response to NGF. It thus appears that both Ras-dependent and Ras-independent signaling pathways contribute to NGF-induced PC12 cell differentiation independently of the cAMP, calcium and protein kinase C second messenger systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2105-2113
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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