Here, we investigated the role of the small Rho GTPases Rac, Cdc42, and Rho in the mechanism of laminin-1-mediated neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. PC12 cells were transfected with plasmids expressing wild-type and dominant-negative mutants of Rac (RacN17), Cdc42 (Cdc42N17), or Rho (RhoN19). Over 90% of the dominant-negative Rho- and Rac-transfected cells extended neurites when plated on laminin-1; however, none of the PC12 cells transfected with the dominant-negative Cdc42 mutant extended neurites. In cells cotransfected with plasmids expressing c-Jun N-terminal kinase and wild-type Cdc42, laminin-1 treatment stimulated detectable levels of c-Jun phosphorylation. Further, cotransfection with c-Jun N-terminal kinase and the dominant-negative Cdc42 mutant blocked laminin-1-mediated c-Jun phosphorylation. Transfection with either wild-type Rac or the dominant-negative Rac did not effect c-Jun phosphorylation. These data demonstrate that Cdc42 is activated by laminin-1 and that Cdc42 activation is required in the mechanism of laminin-1-mediated neurite outgrowth.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.