Rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells exhibit apoptotic cell death when deprived of serum and can be rescued by nerve growth factor (NGF). We characterized AP-1 DNA binding activity in PC12 cells after serum deprivation in the presence or absence of NGF or other neurotrophic agents. There was a decline in AP-1 DNA binding activity concomitant with apoptosis in PC12 cells after serum deprivation. Treatment of serum-deprived PC12 with NGF induced persistent AP-1 binding activity that was blocked by the Trk receptor inhibitor K252a. PC12 cells treated with dibutyryl cyclic AMP or insulin also displayed increased AP-1 DNA binding activity. While NGF somewhat increased c-Fos and c-Jun protein levels transiently, it had a more robust and persistent stimulatory effect on Jun B protein levels. AP-1 transcriptional activity increased after NGF, dibutyryl cAMP, or insulin treatment under serum free conditions. Curcumin, which inhibits AP-1 activity, blocked the NGF-mediated rescue. These results would suggest that the rescue of serum- deprived PC12 cells from apoptosis requires increasing endogenous levels of specific Fos/Jun components of AP-1.
- Apoptotic cell death
- Serum deprivation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience