Inhibition of tyrosine phosphorylation potentiates substrate‐induced neurite growth

John L. Bixby, Perseus Jhabvala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) have major roles in signal transduction and growth control. There are several lines of evidence implicating PTKs in the regulation of axon growth, and this has led to the suggestion that they are centrally involved in the transduction of neuronal growth signals. To test this idea, we assayed the effect of the compounds genistein and lavendustin, specific inhibitors of PTKs, on neurite growth. We find that genistein greatly reduces phosphotyrosine in neurons, as expected from its action on other cells. Surprisingly, administration of genistein or lavendustin potentiated substrate-induced neurite growth in at least several different neuronal types. Stimulation of neurite growth by genistein was abolished by vanadate, providing additional evidence that inhibition of PTKs is responsible for this effect. The potentiation of growth is rather general, in that it occurs on several different extracellular matrix substrates and on two different cell adhesion molecules. Both the initiation of neurite growth and the rate of neurite elongation appear to be potentiated. Our results do not provide evidence for models of substrate-induced signal transduction that involve PTKs as a positive and necessary step, but suggest that such kinases play a regulatory role in neurite elongation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)468-480
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neurobiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1992


  • cadherins
  • cell adhesion molecules
  • genistein
  • laminin
  • neurite growth
  • tyrosine kinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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