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J Neurosci March 15, 2003; 23 (6): 2274-83.
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Direct cAMP signaling through G-protein-coupled receptors mediates growth cone attraction induced by pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide.

Guirland C , Buck KB , Gibney JA , DiCicco-Bloom E , Zheng JQ .

Developing axons are guided to their appropriate targets by environmental cues through the activation of specific receptors and intracellular signaling pathways. Here we report that gradients of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), a neuropeptide widely expressed in the developing nervous system, induce marked attraction of Xenopus growth cones in vitro. PACAP exerted its chemoattractive effects through PAC1, a PACAP-selective G-protein-coupled receptor (GPRC) expressed at the growth cone. Furthermore, the attraction depended on localized cAMP signaling because it was completely blocked either by global elevation of intracellular cAMP levels using forskolin or by inhibition of protein kinase A using specific inhibitors. Moreover, local direct elevation of intracellular cAMP by focal photolysis of caged cAMP compounds was sufficient to induce growth cone attraction. On the other hand, blockade of Ca2+, phospholipase C, or phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase signaling pathways did not affect PACAP-induced growth cone attraction. Finally, PACAP-induced attraction also involved the Rho family of small GTPases and required local protein synthesis. Taken together, our results establish cAMP signaling as an independent pathway capable of mediating growth cone attraction induced by a physiologically relevant peptide acting through GPCRs. Such a direct cAMP pathway could potentially operate in other guidance systems for the accurate wiring of the nervous system.

PubMed ID: 12657686
PMC ID: PMC6742047
Article link: J Neurosci

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: adcyap1 klf6 rho

References [+] :
Arimura, Pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP): discovery and current status of research. 1992, Pubmed