The role of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in neural cell adhesion molecule-mediated neuronal differentiation and survival

J Neurochem. 2003 Feb;84(3):546-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01538.x.


The neural cell adhesion molecule, NCAM, is known to stimulate neurite outgrowth from primary neurones and PC12 cells presumably through signalling pathways involving the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), the Ras-mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and an increase in intracellular Ca2+ levels. Stimulation of neurones with the synthetic NCAM-ligand, C3, induces neurite outgrowth through signalling pathways similar to the pathways activated through physiological, homophilic NCAM-stimulation. We present here data indicating that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) is required for NCAM-mediated neurite outgrowth from PC12-E2 cells and from cerebellar and dopaminergic neurones in primary culture, and that the thr/ser kinase Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) is phosphorylated downstream of PI3K after stimulation with C3. Moreover, we present data indicating a survival-promoting effect of NCAM-stimulation by C3 on cerebellar and dopaminergic neurones induced to undergo apoptosis. This protective effect of C3 included an inhibition of both DNA-fragmentation and caspase-3 activation. The survival-promoting effect of NCAM-stimulation was also shown to be dependent on PI3K.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • Humans
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / pharmacology
  • Neurites / drug effects
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology


  • C3 synthetic NCAM-ligand
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal
  • Ligands
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Peptides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Akt1 protein, rat
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt