The continuous presence of nerve growth factor (NGF) is thought to be required for the elaboration of neuronal-like traits in PC12 cells. Surprisingly, we find that a 1 min exposure to NGF is sufficient to engage a longer-term genetic program leading to the acquisition of membrane excitability. Whereas continuous exposure to NGF causes the induction of a family of sodium channels, the effect of a brief exposure is to induce selectively expression of the peripheral nerve-type sodium channel gene PN1, through a distinct signaling pathway requiring immediate-early genes. A 1 min exposure of PC12 cells to interferon-γ also causes PN1 gene induction, suggesting that the "triggered" NGF and interferon-γ signaling pathways share common molecular intermediates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas