A cAMP-activated pathway, including PKA and PI3K, regulates neuronal differentiation

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Neuronal differentiation is a complex process in which many different signalling pathways may be involved. An increase in the intracellular levels of cyclic AMP (cAMP) has been shown to induce neuronal differentiation and also to cooperate with NGF to induce PC12 neurite outgrowth in a Ras-dependent manner. However, the neuritogenic activities associated with cAMP are still not well understood.The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential neuritogenic activities mediated by cAMP. For this purpose, we used the human neuroblastoma cell line SH-SY5Y. These neuroblastoma cells respond to cAMP by forming neurite-like extensions. We tried to identify some essential pathways involved in the cAMP-induced neurite elongation of these cells. Our results indicated that PKA is transiently activated in this elongation model. When we blocked PKA activity, elongation did not take place. Similarly, PI3K also plays an essential role because when we blocked this kinase activity, there was no neurite elongation. Indeed, over-expression of the p110-catalytic subunit or an activating form of the p85-regulatory subunit (p65) is able to induce some degree of neurite extension. Moreover, our results showed that when elongation is initiated, PI3K is still essential for maintenance of the neuronal morphology, whereas PKA or MAPK (ERKs or p38) activation does not appear to be necessary during this process.

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