Distinct neurite outgrowth signaling pathways converge on ERK activation

Jeanette C. Perron, John L. Bixby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

154 Scopus citations


Several distinct classes of proteins positively regulate axonal growth; some of these are known to activate the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling cascade, at least in nonneuronal cells. We have found that N-cadherin, as well as laminin (LN) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), can activate ERK in embryonic chick retinal neurons. Additionally, adhesion of retinal neurons to LN or N- cadherin substrates induced a redistribution of ERK from the cytoplasm toward the plasma membrane. Neurite outgrowth induced by bFGF, LN, or N-cadherin was strongly inhibited by treatment with inhibitors of ERK kinase activation, but not by an inhibitor of p38 MAPK. We conclude (1) that N-cadherin and LN can activate ERK in retinal neurons and (2) that activation of ERK is required for full neurite outgrowth induced by these proteins. Our results suggest that ERK activation is one point of convergence for signaling pathways generated by a variety of axon growth inducers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-378
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular and cellular neurosciences
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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