Various proteases have been found to be released by the growth cones of developing neurons in culture and have been hypothesized to play a role in the process of axon elongation. We report here that nerve growth factor (NGF) induced the gene encoding the metalloprotease transin in PC12 cells with a time course coincident with the initial appearance of neurites by these cells. Acidic and basic fibroblast growth factors also stimulated transin mRNA expression and neurite outgrowth, whereas various other agents had no effects on either of these phenomena. In contrast, dexamethasone was found to inhibit the induction of transin mRNA when added with, or following, NGF treatment. Finally, we show that sequences contained within 750 by of the 5′ untranscribed region of the transin gene confer responsiveness to NGF and dexamethasone.
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