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

v-Crk modulation of growth factor-induced PC12 cell differentiation involves the Src homology 2 domain of v-Crk and sustained activation of the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.

Nerve growth factor (NGF) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) elicit contrasting actions on PC12 pheochromocytoma cells; NGF causes neuronal differentiation, and EGF induces proliferation. However, ectopic expression of the Src homology 2 (SH2) and SH3-containing oncogenic adaptor protein v-Crk in PC12 cells results in EGF-inducible neuronal differentiation (Hempstead, B. L., Birge, R. B., Fajardo, J. E., Glassman, R., Mahadeo, D., Kraemer, R., and Hanafusa, H. (1994) Mol. Cell. Biol. 14, 1964-1971). Here we show that v-Crk complexes with both the tyrosine-phosphorylated EGF receptor and the Ras guanine nucleotide exchange factor SOS in PC12 cells and is involved in an pathway analogous to that of Grb2. Expression of v-Crk results in an enhanced and sustained activation of Ras and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase following EGF or NGF stimulation, implying that v-Crk can couple divergent tyrosine kinase pathways to Ras. To investigate the causal relationship between EGF receptor binding, MAP kinase activation, and neurite outgrowth, we stably expressed two v-Crk SH2 point mutants, v-Crk(R273N) and v-Crk(H294R) in PC12 cells. Mutations within the SH2 domain of v-Crk block binding of v-Crk to the tyrosine phosphorylated EGF receptor, compromise v-Crk's ability to cause EGF-dependent neurite outgrowth, and act in a dominant negative manner for NGF-induced neurite outgrowth. However, the kinetics of MAP kinase activation in EGF- or NGF-treated v-Crk-(R273N)PC12 cells was comparable with that in v-CrkPC12 cells. These data are consistent with a model in which v-Crk regulates the strength of a tyrosine kinase signal leading to prolonged activation of Ras and MAP kinase. However, the experiments with the SH2 mutants suggest that sustained activation, by itself, may not be sufficient to switch the fate of v-CrkPC12 cells from proliferation toward differentiation.[1]


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