Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) are known to be involved in learning and memory, but the molecular basis of their involvement is not well understood. The availability of new and specific biochemical tools has revealed a crucial role for the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family in learning and memory. Here, we examine the link between mAChRs and MAPK in neurons. Using the MAPK kinase (MEK)-specific inhibitor PD98059, we first demonstrate a necessary role for active ERKI/II in long-term potentiation in vivo. Using phospho-specific antibodies that recognize the activated form of ERKI/II, we find that the level of ERKI/II activation in brain is regulated by mAChRs. Carbachol, a muscarinic agonist, induces prolonged activation of ERKI/II, without effect on the related kinase SAPK/JNK (stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase) in primary cortical cultures. ERKI/II activation is Src-dependent and partially phosphoinositide-3 kinase- and Ca2+-dependent but is PKC-independent. M1-M4 mAChR subtypes expressed in COS-7 cells can all induce ERKI/II activation using a signal transduction pathway similar to that operating in neurons. The nature of the signal transduction suggests that ERKI/II can serve as a convergence site for mAChR activation and other neurotransmitter receptors.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - 1 Feb 2000|
- Extracellular regulated kinase
- Signal transduction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)