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Keywords:

  • Nerve growth factor;
  • Neurotrophic factors;
  • PC12 cells;
  • Neuronal regeneration;
  • Posttranscriptional mechanisms;
  • Translational control

Abstract: When PC12 cells are primed with nerve growth factor (NGF) for periods of ≥1 week, they acquire the ability to regenerate neurites rapidly in response to NGF. It is not known how NGF promotes this regeneration, but it does not require ongoing RNA synthesis. Previous studies have suggested that NGF directs the accumulation of precursor molecules that are rapidly assembled to form the regenerated neurites. To address the nature of these precursor molecules, we have treated PC12 cells with macromolecular synthesis inhibitors during the priming and regeneration phases of neurite growth. Here we show that NGF promotes neurite regeneration by inducing the synthesis of new proteins. These proteins are encoded by short-lived mRNAs that are generated during the NGF priming period. The isolation and identification of these mRNAs will allow a further understanding of how NGF promotes neurite regeneration.