Protein kinase A-mediated gating of neuregulin-dependent ErbB2-ErbB3 activation underlies the synergistic action of cAMP on schwann cell proliferation

Paula V. Monje, Gagani Athauda, Patrick M. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


In Schwann cells (SCs), cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) enhances the action of neuregulin, the most potent known mitogen for SCs, by synergistically increasing the activation of two crucial signaling pathways: ERK and Akt. However, the underlying mechanism of cross-talk between neuregulin and cAMP signaling remains mostly undefined. Here, we report that the activation of protein kinase A (PKA), but not that of exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC), enhances S-phase entry of SCs by synergistically enhancing the ligand-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation/activation of the neuregulin co-receptor, ErbB2-ErbB3. The role of PKA in neuregulin-ErbB signaling was confirmed using PKA inhibitors, pathway-selective cAMP analogs, and natural ligands stimulating PKA activity in SCs, such as adenosine and epinephrine. Two basic observations defined the synergistic action of PKA as "gating" for neuregulin-ErbB signaling: 1) the activation of PKA was not sufficient to induce S-phase entry or the activation of either ErbB2 or ErbB3; and 2) the presence of neuregulin was strictly required to ignite ErbB activation and thereby ERK and Akt signaling. However, PKA directly phosphorylated ErbB2 on Thr-686, a highly conserved intracellular regulatory site that was required for the PKA-mediated synergistic enhancement of neuregulin-induced ErbB2-ErbB3 activation and proliferation in SCs. The gating action of PKA on neuregulin-induced ErbB2-ErbB3 activation has important biological significance, because it insures signal amplification into the ERK and Akt pathways without compromising either the neuregulin dependence or the high specificity of ErbB signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34087-34100
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 5 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this