Kudo TA, Kanetaka H, Mizuno K, Ryu Y, Miyamoto Y, Nunome S, Zhang Y, Kano M, Shimizu Y, Hayashi H.
In this study, we investigated the effect of dorsomorphin, a selective inhibitor of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, on rat PC12 pheochromocytoma cell differentiation. PC12 cells can be induced to differentiate into neuron-like cells possessing elongated neurites by nerve growth factor, BMP2, and other inducers. Cells were incubated with BMP2 and/or dorsomorphin, and the extent of neurite outgrowth was evaluated. Unexpectedly, BMP2-mediated neuritogenesis was not inhibited by co-treatment with dorsomorphin. We also found that treatment with dorsomorphin alone, but not another BMP signaling inhibitor, LDN-193189, induced neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. To further understand the mechanism of action of dorsomorphin, the effects of this drug on intracellular signaling were investigated using the following signaling inhibitors: the ERK kinase (MEK) inhibitor U0126; the tropomyosin-related kinase A inhibitor GW441756; and the protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89. Dorsomorphin induced rapid and sustained ERK1/2 activation; however, dorsomorphin-mediated ERK1/2 activation and neuritogenesis were robustly inhibited in the presence of U0126 or H89, but not GW441756. These findings suggest that dorsomorphin has the potential to induce neuritogenesis in PC12 cells, a response that requires the activation of PKA-dependent MEK-ERK1/2 signaling.