Neuroscreen-1 (NS-1) a sub-clone of pheochromocytoma (PC12) cell is gaining broad acceptance as in vitro neuronal model for biochemical and phenotypic assays due to robust growth and differentiation profiles. However, the molecular characteristics of the cell remains to be documented. In this study, we performed comparative analysis for expression of neuronal marker genes in undifferentiated and nerve growth factor (NGF) differentiated NS-1 and PC12 by qPCR and immunoblot assays. We show that differentiation of NS-1 occurred under low concentrations of NGF relative to PC12. Cell growth also occurred more rapidly in NS-1. Transcriptional analysis of neuronal marker genes showed comparable expression of tyrosine receptor kinases (Ntrk1, Ntrk2, NGFR/p75NTR) and muscarinic acetylcholine (Chrm1, Chrm2, Chrm3, Chrm4) receptors in unspecialized cells. Ntrk2, adenosine receptors (Adora1, Adora2A) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) were altered in undifferentiated NS-1. In contrast, Ntrk1, Ntrk2, Chrm2 transcripts were vastly increased in NS-1 with NGF exposure, while Ntrk3, Adora1 and Adora2A transcripts were reduced. In differentiated PC12, Chrm4 and ChAT were markedly upregulated. Our data suggests that differences in morphological and phenotypic characteristics that distinguish NS-1 from PC12 is likely the product of altered gene expression. Furthermore, expression of neuron type genes in NS-1 support its use as an alternative model to PC12.
Keywords: Cholinergic; Differentiation; NS-1; Nerve Growth Factor; Neurite; Neuronal; Neuroscreen-1; PC12; Pheochromocytoma; Transcription.