We are investigating the intracellular events involved in the induction of neurite outgrowth. The phorbol ester TPA, an activator of protein kinase C, potentiates neurite outgrowth from ciliary ganglion neurons cultured on suboptimal laminin concentrations, but not on optimal laminin concentrations. TPA also stimulates growth on fibronectin and collagen similar to that observed on laminin under control conditions. Manipulations that elevate intracellular CAMP levels (expected to activate A kinase) reduce neurite outgrowth on laminin. The protein kinase C inhibitors H7 and sphingosine inhibit neurite outgrowth on laminin in a reversible and dose-dependent manner. H7 does not inhibit the process outgrowth induced by concanavalin A in the same neurons. The results suggest that activation of protein kinase C is an important step in the neurite outgrowth caused by laminin binding to its receptor(s).
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