Activation of microtubule dynamics increases neuronal growth via the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)- and Gαs-mediated signaling pathways

Tulika Sarma, Athanasia Koutsouris, Jiang Zhu Yu, Aleksandar Krbanjevic, Thomas J. Hope, Mark M. Rasenick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Signals that activate the G protein Gαs and promote neuronal differentiation evoke Gαs internalization in rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. These agents also significantly increase Gαs association with microtubules, resulting in an increase in microtubule dynamics because of the activation of tubulin GTPase by Gαs. To determine the function of Gαs/microtubule association in neuronal development, we used real-time trafficking of a GFP-Gαs fusion protein. GFP-Gαs concentrates at the distal end of the neurites in differentiated living PC12 cells as well as in cultured hippocampal neurons. Gαs translocates to specialized membrane compartments at tips of growing neurites. A dominant-negative Gα chimera that interferes with Gαs binding to tubulin and activation of tubulin GTPase attenuates neurite elongation and neurite number both in PC12 cells and primary hippocampal neurons. This effect is greatest on differentiation induced by activated Gαs. Together, these data suggest that activated Gαs translocates from the plasma membrane and, through interaction with tubulin/microtubules in the cytosol, is important for neurite formation, development, and outgrowth. Characterization of neuronal G protein dynamics and their contribution to microtubule dynamics is important for understanding the molecular mechanisms by which G protein-coupled receptor signaling orchestrates neuronal growth and differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10045-10056
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 17 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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