ras p21 protein promotes survival and fiber outgrowth of cultured embryonic neurons

Neuron. 1989 Jan;2(1):1087-96. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(89)90233-x.


Although evidence obtained with the PC12 cell line has suggested a role for the ras oncogene proteins in the signal transduction of nerve growth factor-mediated fiber outgrowth, little is known about the signal transduction mechanisms involved in the neuronal response to neurotrophic factors in nontransformed cells. We report here that the oncogene protein T24-ras, when introduced into the cytoplasm of freshly dissociated chick embryonic neurons, promotes the in vitro survival and neurite outgrowth of nerve growth factor-responsive dorsal root ganglion neurons, brain-derived neurotrophic factor-responsive nodose ganglion neurons, and ciliary neuronotrophic factor-responsive ciliary ganglion neurons. The proto-oncogene product c-Ha-ras also promotes neuronal survival, albeit less strongly. No effect could be observed with truncated counterparts of T24-ras and c-Ha-ras lacking the 23 C-terminal amino acids including the membrane-anchoring, palmityl-accepting cysteine. These results suggest a generalized involvement of ras or ras-like proteins in the intracellular signal transduction pathway for neurotrophic factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Ganglia, Parasympathetic / cytology*
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology*
  • Genes, ras
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Nodose Ganglion / cytology*
  • Oncogene Protein p21(ras) / genetics
  • Oncogene Protein p21(ras) / physiology*
  • Pheochromocytoma
  • Vagus Nerve / cytology*


  • Oncogene Protein p21(ras)