• M4 mAChR;
  • mTOR;
  • p70S6K;
  • PC12;
  • PI3K;
  • PTX;
  • Signaling


The Gi-coupled M4 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) has recently been shown to stimulate the survival of PC12 cells through the PI3K/Akt/tuberin pathway. Since mTOR and p70S6K are critical components in activating translation which lie downstream of tuberin, we examined the ability of M4 mAChR to regulate these targets in PC12 cells. Carbachol (CCh) dose-dependently stimulated both mTOR and p70S6K phosphorylations and these responses were abolished by pertussis toxin pretreatment, indicating the involvement of the Gi-coupled M4 mAChR. Phosphorylations of both mTOR and p70S6K were effectively blocked upon inhibition of PI3K by wortmannin. As compared to similar responses elicited by the nerve growth factor (NGF), the M4 mAChR-induced activation of Akt/tuberin/mTOR/p70S6K occurred in a relatively transient manner. Although inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A by okadaic acid augmented the transient effects of CCh on Akt/tuberin phosphorylations, it failed to significantly prolong these responses. The total protein level of PTEN (tumor suppressor gene phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten) was attenuated upon NGF, but not CCh treatment. This indicates that downregulation of PTEN may help to sustain the phosphorylation of Akt/tuberin by NGF. Collectively, these findings suggest that PP2A and PTEN may be involved in fine tuning the regulation of Akt/tuberin/mTOR/p70S6K in PC12 cells by M4 mAChR and TrkA, respectively.