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

Activation of ERK1/2 MAP kinases in familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy.

Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the extracellular deposition of transthyretin ( TTR), especially in the PNS. Given the invasiveness of nerve biopsy, salivary glands (SG) from FAP patients were used previously in microarray analysis; mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase phosphatase 1 ( MKP-1) was down-regulated in FAP. Results were validated by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry both in SG and in nerve biopsies of different stages of disease progression. MKP-3 was also down-regulated in FAP SG biopsies. Given the relationship between MKPs and MAPKs, the latter were investigated. Only extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 ( ERK1/2) displayed increased activation in FAP SG and nerves. ERK1/2 kinase ( MEK1/2) activation was also up-regulated in FAP nerves. In addition, an FAP transgenic mouse model revealed increased ERK1/2 activation in peripheral nerve affected with TTR deposition when compared to control animals. Cultured rat Schwannoma cell line treatment with TTR aggregates stimulated ERK1/2 activation, which was partially mediated by the receptor for advanced glycation end-products (RAGE). Moreover, caspase-3 activation triggered by TTR aggregates was abrogated by U0126, a MEK1/2 inhibitor, indicating that ERK1/2 activation is essential for TTR aggregates-induced cytotoxicity. Taken together, these data suggest that abnormally sustained activation of ERK in FAP may represent an early signaling cascade leading to neurodegeneration.[1]


  1. Activation of ERK1/2 MAP kinases in familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy. Monteiro, F.A., Sousa, M.M., Cardoso, I., do Amaral, J.B., Guimarães, A., Saraiva, M.J. J. Neurochem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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