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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A novel role for extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 and myocyte enhancer factor 2 in medulloblastoma cell death.

Expression of the neurotrophin-3 receptor, tyrosine kinase C ( TrkC), is associated with favorable prognosis in medulloblastoma patients. This may be due to increased tumor apoptosis induced by TrkC activation. Neurotrophin-3/ TrkC- induced apoptosis is inhibited by the mitogen- activated protein (MAP) kinase ( MAPK) pharmacologic antagonists SB203580 and PD98059. In addition to extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)-1/2, PD98059 also inhibits the more recently identified neurotrophin-responsive MAPK, ERK5 (big MAPK 1). In the present study, we investigate the contribution of ERK5 and its target myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) to neurotrophin-3/ TrkC-induced medulloblastoma cell death. Neurotrophin-3 not only enhanced ERK5 phosphorylation but also significantly enhanced the transcriptional activity of MEF2, a specific target of ERK5. Overexpression of both ERK5 and MEF2 induced a statistically significant increase in cell death of neurotrophin-3-responsive and nonresponsive medulloblastoma cell lines (Daoy-trkC and Daoy) and primary cultures of patched heterozygous mouse medulloblastomas. Only those cells expressing MAP/ERK kinase 5 ( MEK5) plus ERK5 or MEF2 constructs underwent apoptosis, indicating that overexpression of either is sufficient to induce medulloblastoma cell death. Expression of a dominant-negative MEF2 or small interfering RNA for the ERK5 activator, MEK5, significantly inhibited neurotrophin-3-induced cell death. The dominant-negative MEF2 construct also blocked MEK5/ ERK5-induced cell death, supporting a role for MEF2 downstream of ERK5. Co-immunoprecipitation studies revealed direct interaction of phosphorylated ERK5 with MEF2 in response to neurotrophin-3. Our investigation of the mechanism of neurotrophin-3/ TrkC- induced apoptosis has identified a novel role for both MEK5/ ERK5 and MEF2 in cell death, suggesting that these molecules can be exploited to induce apoptosis in both TrkC-expressing and non-expressing medulloblastoma cells.[1]


  1. A novel role for extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 and myocyte enhancer factor 2 in medulloblastoma cell death. Sturla, L.M., Cowan, C.W., Guenther, L., Castellino, R.C., Kim, J.Y., Pomeroy, S.L. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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