Mitogen and stress response kinase-1 (MSK1) mediates excitotoxic induced death of hippocampal neurones

Jane P. Hughes, Penny C. Staton, Marc G. Wilkinson, Paul J.L.M. Strijbos, Stephen D. Skaper, J. Simon C. Arthur, Alastair D. Reith (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) signal transduction pathway may mediate excitotoxic neuronal cell death in vitro and during ischemic brain injury in vivo. However, little is known, of the upstream regulation or downstream consequences of ERK activation under these conditions. Magnesium removal has been described to induce hyperexcitability and degeneration in cultured hippocampal neurones. Here, we show that neurotoxicity evoked by Mg2+ removal in primary hippocampal neurones stimulates ERK, but not p38, phosphorylation. Removal of Mg2+ also resulted in induction of the MAPK/ERK substrate mitogen- and stress-response kinase 1 (MSK1) and induced phosphorylation of the MSK1 substrate, the transcription factor cAMP response element binding protein (CREB). Neuronal death and phosphorylation of components in this cascade were inhibited by the Raf inhibitor SB-386023, by the MEK inhibitor U0126, or by the MSK1 inhibitors H89 and Ro318220. Importantly, this form of cell death was inhibited in hippocampal neurones cultured from MSK1-/- mice and inhibitors of Raf or MEK had no additive neuroprotective effect. Together, these data indicate that MSK1 is a physiological kinase for CREB and that this activity is an essential component of activity-dependent neuronal cell death.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)25-32
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2003


    • CAMP-responsive element binding protein
    • Excitotoxicity
    • Hippocampal neurones
    • Mitogen and stress-response kinase-1
    • Mitogen-activated protein kinase
    • Neuroprotection

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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