GTP and guanosine synergistically enhance NGF-induced neurite outgrowth from PC12 cells
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Six per cent of rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells extended neurites (processes greater than one cell diameter in length) in the presence of 300 microM extracellular GTP or 300 microM guanosine for 48 hr, compared to only 2.5% of cells in control cultures. In the presence of 40 ng/ml of 2.5S NGF, about 20-35% of PC12 cells had neurites after 48 hr, and the addition of 300 microM guanosine or GTP together with NGF synergistically increased the proportion of cells with neurites to 40-65%. GTP and guanosine also increased the average number of branches per neurite, from 0.6 in NGF-treated cultures to 1.2 (guanosine) or 1.5 (GTP). Neurites formed after exposure to NGF alone had axonal characteristics as determined by immunocytochemistry with antibody, SMI-31, against axonal-specific polyphosphorylated neurofilament epitopes. Neurites generated with the addition of both guanosine or GTP had the same characteristics. GTP probably did not exert its effects via the P2X or P2Y purinoceptors because the adenine nucleotides ATP, ATP gamma S, ADP beta S, and ADP, which are all agonists of these receptors, inhibited rather than enhanced, NGF-induced neurite outgrowth. UTP also enhanced the proportion of cells with neurites, although not to the same degree as did GTP. This may indicate activity through a P2U-like nucleotide receptor. However, the response profile obtained, GTP > UTP > ATP, does not fit the profile of any known P2Y, P2X or P2U receptor. The poorly hydrolyzable GTP analogues, GTP gamma S and GDP beta s were also unable to enhance the proportion of cells with neurites. This implied that GTP may produce its effects through a GTP-specific ectoenzyme or kinase. This idea was supported by results showing that another poorly hydrolyzable analogue, GMP-PCP, competitively inhibited the effects of GTP on neurite outgrowth. GTP did not exert its effects after hydrolysis to guanosine since the metabolic intermediates GDP and GMP were also ineffective in enhancing the proportion of cells with neurites. Moreover, the effects of GTP and guanosine were mutually additive, implying that these two purines utilized different signal transduction mechanisms. The effects of guanosine were not affected by the nucleoside uptake inhibitors nitrobenzylthioinosine (NBTI) and dipyridamole, indicating that a transport mechanism was not involved. Guanosine also did not activate the purinergic P1 receptors, because the A2 receptor antagonists, 1,3-dipropyl-7-methylxanthine (DPMX) or CGS15943, and the A1 receptor antagonist, 1,3-dipropyl-8-(2-amino-4-chloro)xanthine (PACPX) did not inhibit its reaction. Therefore guanosine enhanced neurite outgrowth by a signal transduction mechanism that does not include the activation of the P1 purinoceptors. The enhancement of the neuritogenic effects of NGF by GTP and guanosine may have physiological implications in sprouting and functional recovery after neuronal injury in the CNS, due to the high levels of nucleosides and nucleotides released from dead or injured cells.
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