Rapid activation of ERK1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase by corticosterone in PC12 cells

Jian Qiu, Ping Wang, Qing Jing, Wenbo Zhang, Xiaoyu Li, Yongping Zhong, Gang Sun, Gang Pei, Yizhang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Although the nongenomic effects of glucocorticoids have been well acknowledged, its precise intracellular signal transduction pathway remains to be elucidated. The present study using Western immunoblot and protein kinase activity assay, for the first time, showed that corticosterone (B) can induce a rapid activation of Erk1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in PC12 cells. The dose-response curve was bell shaped, with the maximal activation at 10-9 M in 15 min. The results from immunofluorescence staining also revealed that the activated Erk1/2 MAPK was translocated from cytoplasm to nucleus of PC12 cells in 15 min. Activation of Erk1/2 MAPK by B was apparently not mediated by the classical cytosolic steroid receptors, for B-BSA can induce the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 MAPK, but the antagonist (RU38486) cannot block the phosphorylation of Erk1/2 MAPK induced by B. Phosphorylation of Erk1/2 MAPK induced by B was not affected by a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (genistein), suggesting that the pathway did not involve the tyrosine kinase activity. On the other hand, protein kinase C activator (PMA) can activate and protein kinase C inhibitor (Gö6976) can block the activation of Erk1/2 MAPK induced by B. Taken together, these data clearly demonstrated that B might act via putative membrane receptor and rapidly activate Erk1/2 MAPK through protein kinase C α in PC12 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1017-1024
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 5 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Corticosterone
  • Mitogenactivated protein kinase
  • Nongenomic
  • PC12 cells
  • Protein kinase C

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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