Participation of a stress-activated protein kinase cascade in the activation of tyrosine hydroxylase in chromaffin cells

Gareth Thomas (Lead / Corresponding author), Jan Haavik, Philip Cohen

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    53 Citations (Scopus)


    Sodium arsenite and osmotic shock both stimulated stress-activated protein kinase-2 (SAPK2, also termed RK, p38, CSBP and Mxi2) and its downstream target mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase)-activated protein kinase-2 (MAPKAP-K2) in bovine adrenal chromaffin and rat PC12 cells. The same stimuli also increased tyrosine hydroxylase activity 2-3-fold and induced its phosphorylation at Ser19, a residue phosphorylated by MAPKAP-K2 in vitro. The arsenite-induced activation of tyrosine hydroxylase and its phosphorylation at Ser19 were prevented by SE 203580 at concentrations similar to those that inhibited SAPK2 in vitro. These results indicate that MAPKAP-K2 mediates the stress-induced activation of tyrosine hydroxylase. SE 203580 had no effect on the phosphorylation or activation of tyrosine hydroxylase induced by nerve growth factor or forskolin, which trigger the phosphorylation of Ser31 and Ser40, respectively. Stimulation of bovine adrenal chromaffin cells with acetylcholine activated SAPK2 and MAPKAP-K2, as well as p42/p44 MAP kinases and their downstream target MAPKAP-K1. The half-times for activation of MAPKAP-K1 and MAPKAP-K2 (1 min) were similar. In contrast, the activation of tyrosine hydroxylase by acetylcholine peaked within 1 min and gradually declined thereafter. Neither SE 203580 (which blocked the activation of MAPKAP-K2 by acetylcholine) nor PD 98059 (which prevented the activation of p42/p44 MAP kinases by acetylcholine) affected tyrosine hydroxylase activation after 1 min, but these compounds inhibited activation by 40-50% after 5 min. PD 98059 prevented the acetylcholine-induced phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase at Ser31, the residue targetted by p42/p44 MAP kinases in vitro, but did not inhibit the phosphorylation of Ser40 (which is phosphorylated by MAPKAP-K1 in vitro). Our results establish that p42/p44 MAP kinases mediate the acetylcholine-induced phosphorylation of tyrosine hydroxylase at Ser31. SB 203580 did not suppress the phosphorylation of Ser19 or Ser40 by acetylcholine but, like PD 98059, this drug decreased the phosphorylation of Ser31. SAPK2 may therefore contribute to the acetylcholine-induced activation of tyrosine hydroxylase by facilitating (in an unknown way) its phosphorylation by MAP kinases.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1180-1189
    Number of pages10
    JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 1997


    • Chromaffin cell
    • Mitogen-activated protein kinase
    • PCS12 cell
    • Stress
    • Tyrosine hydroxylase

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry


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