Mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates neurofilament axonal transport. Academic Article uri icon


  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP) kinase plays a pivotal role in the development of the nervous system by mediating both neurogenesis and neuronal differentiation. Here we examined whether p42/44 MAP kinase plays a role in axonal transport and the organization of neurofilaments (NFs) in axonal neurites. Dominant-negative p42/44 MAP kinase, anti-MAP kinase antisense oligonucleotides and the MAP kinase inhibitor PD98059 all reduced NF phospho-epitopes and inhibited anterograde NF axonal transport of GFP-tagged NF subunits in differentiated NB2a/d1 neuroblastoma cells. Expression of constitutively active MAP kinase and intracellular delivery of active enzyme increased NF phospho-epitopes and increased NF axonal transport. Longer treatment with PD98059 shifted NF transport from anterograde to retrograde. PD98059 did not inhibit overall axonal transport nor compromise overall axonal architecture or composition. The p38 MAP kinase inhibitor SB202190 did not inhibit NF transport whereas the kinase inhibitor olomoucine inhibited both NF and mitochondrial transport. Axonal transport of NFs containing NF-H whose C-terminal region was mutated to mimic extensive phosphorylation was substantially less affected by PD98059 compared to a wild-type construct. These data suggest that p42/44 MAP kinase regulates NF anterograde transport by NF C-terminal phosphorylation. MAP kinase may therefore stabilize developing axons by promoting the accumulation of NFs within growing axonal neurites.

publication date

  • September 15, 2004