Expression of Rho-family GTPases (Rac, cdc42, RhoA) and their association with p-21 activated kinase in adult rat peripheral nerve

J Neurochem. 2001 May;77(4):986-93. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2001.00336.x.


To clarify the presence of the Rho family of small GTPases p21-activated kinase (pak) signaling pathway in the PNS, we have examined their expression, the association between the small GTPases and pak and the pak kinase activity in the PNS using immunoblot analysis, immunohistochemistry, co-immunoprecipitation study, and in vitro kinase assay. Immunoblot analysis showed the expression of Rac, cdc42, RhoA and pak in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and sciatic nerve. The localization of these proteins in the DRG neurons and axons and Schwann cells of the sciatic nerve was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. Co-immunoprecipitation studies indicated the in vivo associations of pak with Rac and cdc42, but not with RhoA, in both the DRG and sciatic nerve. The autophosphorylation of pak and phosphorylation of histone H4 by pak were also found in the DRG and sciatic nerve as well as in the CNS. These results suggest that the Rac/cdc42-pak signaling pathway exists and functions in the PNS and may mediate some intracellular signals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Schwann Cells / cytology
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism*
  • Sciatic Nerve / cytology
  • Sciatic Nerve / metabolism*
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism*


  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • p21-Activated Kinases
  • cdc42 GTP-Binding Protein
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein