Role of cyclins in neuronal differentiation of immortalized hippocampal cells

Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Nov;17(11):6585-97. doi: 10.1128/MCB.17.11.6585.


The proto-oncogene cyclin D1 and the neuron-specific cyclins p35 and p39 are expressed during brain maturation. To investigate the role of these cyclins in neuronal differentiation, we used a conditionally immortalized rat hippocampal cell line, H19-7, that expresses cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 5 (cdk4 and -5). Cyclin D1, which activates cdk4 and binds but does not activate cdk5, was increased upon differentiation of the H19-7 cells. However, microinjection of either sense or antisense cyclin D1 cDNA or anti-cyclin D1 antibodies had no effect on morphological differentiation of the cells. On the other hand, neurite outgrowth was stimulated by expression of p35 or p39, both of which activate cdk5. A dominant-negative mutant of cdk5 blocked both p35- and p39-induced neurite extension as well as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF)-induced neuronal differentiation. However, of these cyclins, only antisense p39 prevented bFGF-induced neurite outgrowth. These studies indicate that cyclin D1 is neither necessary nor sufficient for morphological differentiation, that p35 is sufficient but not required, and that p39 is both necessary and sufficient for neurite outgrowth in the hippocampal cells. Taken together, these results represent the first demonstration of a specific role for p39 in neuronal differentiation, implicate the cyclin-activated kinase cdk5 in this process, and indicate that p39 is able to mediate neurite outgrowth in the presence or absence of cyclin D1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antisense Elements (Genetics) / pharmacology
  • COS Cells
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclin D1 / genetics
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Cyclins / genetics
  • Cyclins / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microinjections
  • Mutation
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurites / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins*
  • Rats
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism


  • Antisense Elements (Genetics)
  • Cdk5 activator p39
  • Cyclins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • neuronal Cdk5 activator (p25-p35)
  • Fibroblast Growth Factor 2
  • Cyclin D1
  • Cdk4 protein, rat
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases