Effects of Nerve Growth Factor and Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitors on Amyloid Precursor Protein mRNA Levels and Protein Stability

Janet C MacKinnon, Patricia Huether, Bettina E Kalisch*
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada

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© MacKinnon et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

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* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biomedical Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1, Canada; Tel: 519-824-4120; Fax: 519-767-1450; E-mail:


We determined previously that nitric oxide (NO) modulates the nerve growth factor (NGF)-mediated increases in amyloid precursor protein (APP) levels in PC12 cells. To elucidate potential mechanisms, the effects of NGF and NO synthase (NOS) inhibitors on APP mRNA levels and protein stability were evaluated. Surprisingly, treatment of PC12 cells with NGF resulted in decreased levels of APP695 and APP751/770 mRNA. Therefore, the effect of NGF on APP protein stability was examined using the translation inhibitor, cycloheximide. Under these conditions, NGF did not alter the rate of APP degradation, suggesting that NGF may be enhancing the translation rate of APP. Since NOS inhibitors attenuate the NGF-mediated increase in APP levels, their effect on APP mRNA levels and protein stability was also assessed. S-methylisothiourea (S-MIU), selective for inducible NOS, decreased both APP695 and APP751/770 mRNA levels while the non-selective NOS inhibitor, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) had no effect. In both control and NGF-treated PC12 cells, S-MIU increased the half-life of APP, with the greatest effect observed with the APP695 isoform. Based on these data we propose that in PC12 cells, NGF increases APP levels through enhanced translation rate and that NO, which modulates the NGF-induced increase in APP protein, also regulates APP mRNA levels and could play a role in APP processing.

Keywords: Amyloid precursor protein, mRNA, nerve growth factor, nitric oxide, PC12 cells, protein stability.