Gp130 cytokines stimulate proteasomal degradation of tyrosine hydroxylase via extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 and 2

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27 Scopus citations


Injury-induced cytokines act through gp130 in sympathetic neurons to suppress expression of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and other genes associated with noradrenergic transmission. These cytokines also trigger the local loss of TH in peri-infarct sympathetic axons after myocardial infarction, but altered gene expression cannot explain the selective loss of TH enzyme in one region of the heart. We hypothesized that inflammatory cytokines, which are highest near the infarct, stimulated local degradation of TH protein. We used cultured sympathetic neurons and neuroblastoma cells to test this hypothesis. The cytokines ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) suppressed TH content in both neurons and neuroblastoma cells. CNTF suppressed TH in a gp130-dependent manner, and decreased the half-life of TH protein by approximately 50%. CNTF stimulated the ubiquitination of TH in both neurons and neuroblastoma cells, and the proteasome inhibitors MG-132 and lactacystin prevented the CNTF-induced loss of TH protein. Inhibiting activation of extracellular signal regulated kinases 1&2 (ERK1/2) with U0126 prevented the CNTF-induced ubiquitination of TH and the associated decrease in protein half-life. Likewise, inhibiting ERK1/2 activation blunted the cytokine-stimulated loss of TH protein in sympathetic neurons, despite enhancing the loss of TH mRNA. These data suggest that gp130 cytokines stimulate proteasomal degradation of TH through an ERK1/2 dependent pathway, and may have important implications for local regulation of neurotransmission at sites of inflammation. Cytokines stimulate local TH degradationThis study set out to explain how tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) could be reduced selectively in sympathetic axon branches projecting to a site of tissue damage. We found that inflammatory cytokines activating gp130 stimulated proteasomal degradation of TH. This suggests there is local regulation of transmitter synthesis at sites of inflammation, and has important implications for neurotransmission in disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-247
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • ciliary neurotrophic factor
  • leukemia inhibitory factor
  • noradrenergic
  • sympathetic neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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