c-Jun promotes neurite outgrowth and survival in PC12 cells

Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 2000 Nov 10;83(1-2):20-33. doi: 10.1016/s0169-328x(00)00191-1.


We investigated the function of c-Jun in PC12 cells by transfecting them with a plasmid containing a c-Jun cDNA transcription cassette. Transfected cells expressed high levels of c-Jun mRNA and protein and demonstrated an increase in both AP-1 DNA binding and gene activation. The c-Jun over-expressing cells showed marked neurite outgrowth but no evidence of spontaneous cell death. In fact, c-Jun over-expressing cells were more resistant to okadaic acid-induced apoptosis. The process outgrowth was not indicative of a full neuronal differentiation response as the transfected PC12 cells did not display action potentials when examined with whole-cell patch-clamping. The phosphorylation of c-Jun on serine 73 appears to be important for this neurite sprouting effect as mutagenesis at this site reduced sprouting whereas a serine 63 mutant tended to increase sprouting. Thus, in PC12 cells c-Jun expression does not induce apoptosis, but rather functions as a neurite outgrowth and neuronal survival signal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Nerve Growth Factor / pharmacology
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure*
  • Okadaic Acid / pharmacology
  • PC12 Cells
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / genetics*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Sodium Channels / physiology
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / physiology
  • Transfection


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • Sodium Channels
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Okadaic Acid
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Luciferases