Association of protein kinases ERK1 and ERK2 with p75 nerve growth factor receptors

Cinzia Volonté, James M Angelastro, Lloyd A. Greene

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62 Scopus citations


Extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (ERKs) constitute a family of protein serine-threonine kinases implicated in a variety of cell-signaling pathways. In cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells, ERK1 and ERK2 are activated by nerve growth factor (NGF), which also induces rapid association between ERK1 and the high affinity gp140prototrk tyrosine kinase NGF receptor. In the present work, we investigated the possible association between ERKs and the low affinity NGF receptor, p75. Extracts of PC12 cells (before and after NGF treatment) were subjected to immunoprecipitation with anti-p75 antibodies or antiserum; the immune complexes were then assessed for the presence of ERK proteins and tyrosine phosphorylation or for ERK activity using a specific substrate peptide. ERK1 and, to a lesser extent, ERK2 were found to be constitutively associated with p75. NGF did not modulate the total amount of ERK proteins coimmunoprecipitated with p75 but did markedly stimulate the level of p75-associated ERK catalytic activity. NGF treatment also enhanced the tyrosine phosphorylation of a p75-associated species that co-migrates with ERK1 in Western blots. Finally, K-252a, a compound that specifically inhibits activation by NGF of gp140prototrk, abolished the latter effect. These findings indicate that NGF, via activation of gp140prototrk, leads to association of enzymatically active ERKs with p75 and raise the possibility that this interaction may play a role in the NGF mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21410-21415
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Oct 5 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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