Cdk5 inhibits anterograde axonal transport of neurofilaments but not that of tau by inhibition of mitogen-activated protein kinase activity. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (cdk5) inhibits neurofilament (NF) anterograde axonal transport while p42/44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPk) promotes it. Since cdk5 is known to inhibit MAP kinase activity, we examined whether or not cdk5 inhibits anterograde NF transport via inhibition of MAPk activity. To accomplish this, we manipulated the activity of these kinases in differentiated NB2a/d1 cells, and monitored anterograde axonal transport of green fluorescent protein-conjugated-NF-M (GFP-M) and cyan fluorescent protein-conjugated (CFP)-tau. The cdk5 inhibitor roscovitine increased anterograde axonal transport of GFP-M and CFP-tau; transfection with cdk5/p25 inhibited transport of both. Inhibition of MAPk activity by PD98059 or expression of dominant-negative MAPk inhibited anterograde GFP-M transport, while expression of constitutively active MAPk enhanced it; these treatments did not affect CFP-tau transport. PD98059 prevented roscovitine-mediated enhancement of GFP-M transport, but did not prevent enhancement of CFP-tau transport. Co-transfection with constitutively activated MAPk prevented the inhibition of GFP-M transport that normally accompanied transfection with cdk5/p25, but did not prevent inhibition of tau transport by cdk5/p25. Finally, the extent of inhibition of GFP-M axonal transport by PD98059 was not additive to that derived from transfection with cdk5/p35, and the increase in NF transport that accompanies roscovitine treatment was not additive to that derived from transfection with constitutively activated MAPk, suggesting that the influence of these kinases on NF transport was within the same, rather than distinct, pathways. These findings suggest that axonal transport of tau and NFs is under the control of distinct kinase cascades, and that cdk5 inhibits NF transport at least in part by inhibiting MAPk.

publication date

  • April 4, 2005