Targeted deletion of the ERK5 MAP kinase impairs neuronal differentiation, migration, and survival during adult neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 22;8(4):e61948. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061948. Print 2013.


Recent studies have led to the exciting idea that adult-born neurons in the olfactory bulb (OB) may be critical for complex forms of olfactory behavior in mice. However, signaling mechanisms regulating adult OB neurogenesis are not well defined. We recently reported that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 5, a MAP kinase, is specifically expressed in neurogenic regions within the adult brain. This pattern of expression suggests a role for ERK5 in the regulation of adult OB neurogenesis. Indeed, we previously reported that conditional deletion of erk5 in adult neurogenic regions impairs several forms of olfactory behavior in mice. Thus, it is important to understand how ERK5 regulates adult neurogenesis in the OB. Here we present evidence that shRNA suppression of ERK5 in adult neural stem/progenitor cells isolated from the subventricular zone (SVZ) reduces neurogenesis in culture. By contrast, ectopic activation of endogenous ERK5 signaling via expression of constitutive active MEK5, an upstream activating kinase for ERK5, stimulates neurogenesis. Furthermore, inducible and conditional deletion of erk5 specifically in the neurogenic regions of the adult mouse brain interferes with cell cycle exit of neuroblasts, impairs chain migration along the rostral migratory stream and radial migration into the OB. It also inhibits neuronal differentiation and survival. These data suggest that ERK5 regulates multiple aspects of adult OB neurogenesis and provide new insights concerning signaling mechanisms governing adult neurogenesis in the SVZ-OB axis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Movement*
  • Cell Survival*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Ventricles / cytology
  • Cerebral Ventricles / enzymology
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, 129 Strain
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / deficiency
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7 / genetics*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology*
  • Primary Cell Culture


  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 7