Glucosylceramide synthase inhibitor inhibits the action of nerve growth factor in PC12 cells

Tatsuro Mutoh, Akira Tokuda, Jin Ichi Inokuchi, Masaru Kuriyama

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74 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that the ceramide analogue, D-threo-1- phenyl-2-decanoylamin-3-morpholinopropanol (D-PDMP), inhibits glucosylceramide synthase and thus leads to extensive depletion of glycosphingolipids derived from glucosyl ceramide. Our previous studies have shown that cholera toxin B subunit, which specifically binds to the cell surface ganglioside GM1, and GM1 itself can enhance the action of nerve growth factor (NGF) in responsive cells by enhancing the NGF-induced autophosphorylation of the high affinity NGF receptor, Trk. Using D-PDMP, we examined the effects of the inhibition of the biosynthesis of glycosphingolipids on intracellular NGF signaling pathway. D-PDMP was found to inhibit NGF-induced neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells. Moreover, D-PDMP clearly inhibited NGFinduced autophosphorylation of Trk and prevented the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase, downstream targets of Trk-initiated intracellular protein kinase cascades. These effects of D-PDMP were abolished by the addition of GM1 but not by the addition of other ganglioside subspecies to the culture medium. Furthermore, the effect of D-PDMP seemed to be specific for the Trk receptor, because intracellular signaling pathway of epidermal growth factor was not affected by D-PDMP. Dimethylsphingosine and the cell-permeable analogue, C2- ceramide, did not show such a strong inhibitory effect on neurite outgrowth or on the autophosphorylation of Trk. The present results and our previous observations clearly demonstrate that Trk requires endogenous gangliosides, especially GM1, for its normal function in mediating the neurotrophic activity of NGF at least in PC12 cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26001-26007
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 02-10-1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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