Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Responses By Non-Neuronal Cells: Detection By Assay of a Novel NGF-Activated Protein Kinase

Cinzla Volonte, Lloyd A. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Past work described the partial purification and characterization of a novel serine protein kinase activity designated protein kinase N (PKN) that is activated by nerve growth factor (NGF) in cultured PC12 cells [Rowland et al. (1987) J. Biol. Chem. 262; 7504-7513|. We have now devised a rapid, sensitive technique for partially purifying and assaying PKN activity in cell extracts. This methodology was applied to the IARC-EW-1 osteosarcoma and several additional non-neuronal cell lines that possess NGF receptors but that lack both morphological and a variety of additional biochemical responses to NGF. In each case, NGF significantly elevated PKN activity. The assay also revealed activation of PKN activity in IARC-EW-1 cells by additional agents, including epidermal growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, phorbol ester, and a cAMP analog. Also tested were an NGF-receptor-deficient PC12 cell variant and sublines thereof into which human NGF receptors had been introduced [Hempstead et al. (1989) Science 243; 373-375]. Acquisition of the NGF receptors resulted in NGF-activatable PKN activity. These findings indicate that detection of PKN activity may serve as a sensitive means to test NGF responsiveness in cells lacking macroscopic responses to the factor and that non-neuronal cells may be useful for studying primary signaling events in the NGF mechanism of action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalGrowth Factors
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • kinase activity
  • nerve growth factor
  • non-neuronal cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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