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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in Molecular Biology of the Cell 2008, 19(6): 2566-2578. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1091/mbc.E06-12-1110. ©The American Society for Cell Biology.


The PC12 pheochromocytoma cell line responds to nerve growth factor (NGF) by exiting from the cell cycle and differentiating to induce extending neurites. Cyclin D1 is an important regulator of G1/S phase cell cycle progression, and it is known to play a role in myocyte differentiation in cultured cells. Herein, NGF induced cyclin D1 promoter, mRNA, and protein expression via the p21(RAS) pathway. Antisense- or small interfering RNA to cyclin D1 abolished NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth, demonstrating the essential role of cyclin D1 in NGF-mediated differentiation. Expression vectors encoding mutants of the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, and chemical inhibitors, demonstrated NGF induction of cyclin D1 involved cooperative interactions of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways downstream of p21(RAS). NGF induced the cyclin D1 promoter via Sp1, nuclear factor-kappaB, and cAMP-response element/activated transcription factor sites. NGF induction via Sp1 involved the formation of a Sp1/p50/p107 complex. Cyclin D1 induction by NGF governs differentiation and neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells.

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