• Open Access

The intracellular domain of p75NTR as a determinant of cellular reducing potential and response to oxidant stress


Dr Nina F. Schor, Division of Child Neurology, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, 3705 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Tel.: +1 412 692 6182; fax: +1 412 692 6787; e-mail: nfschor@pitt.edu


The low-affinity neurotrophin receptor, p75NTR, has been found to be pro- or anti-apoptotic depending upon the cell in which it is expressed. Reactive oxygen species play a major role in apoptosis induction and enactment. Using two polyclonal PC12 populations that, respectively, do or do not express p75NTR, this paper demonstrates that p75NTR expression confers resistance to oxidant stress upon PC12 cells maintained in serum-containing medium. The effect of p75NTR on cell survival is mimicked in p75-negative cells by expression of constructs that produce the p75NTR intracellular domain (ICD) or p75NTR with the extracellular domain deleted (ΔECD), suggesting that binding of an extracellular ligand to p75NTR is not required. Our studies further document that the differential sensitivity to oxidant stress is serum-dependent and associated with differential oxidation of glutathione between p75-positive and p75-negative cells. These results suggest that the role of p75NTR in determining the consequences and treatment of age-related disorders and conditions in which reactive oxygen species are involved may require neither the extracellular receptor domain nor, by inference, the cognate extracellular ligands of this neurotrophin receptor.