Extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 and -2 respond differently to mitogenic and differentiative signaling pathways in myoblasts

Dos D. Sarbassov, Linda G. Jones, Charlotte A. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


In this report we show that extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 and -2 (ERK-1 and -2) respond differently to signals that elicit proliferation and/or differentiation of myoblasts using the C2C12 cell line and nondifferentiating mutant NFB4 cells derived from them. Induction of differentiation by withdrawal of serum rendered ERKs in C2C12 myoblasts relatively insensitive to restimulation by serum. Instead, myogenic differentiation of C2C12 cells was associated with sustained activation of ERK-2 dependent on the insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) autocrine loop. By contrast, mutant NFB4 cells cultured under the same conditions remained proliferative and demonstrated robust activation of ERKs in response to serum. Similarly, a G1-dependent signaling pathway induced activation of ERKs in NFB4 cells, but not in C2C12 cells, after stimulation by lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). In NFB4 cells partially rescued by prolonged IGF-I treatment, ERK activity remained responsive to G,-dependent LPA stimulation, whereas rescue of NFB4 cells by constitutive expression of myogenin or MyoD, associated with activation of the IGF-II autocrine loop, rendered the G1-signaling pathway refractory to LPA stimulation. Relatively high levels of G(α12) were detected in NFB4 cells and IGF-I treated NFB4 cells, which correlated with responsive G1 signaling. Activation of the IGF- II autocrine loop in C2C12 and NFB4 myoblasts or treatment with IGF-II was associated with loss of G(α12) and inhibition of G1-dependent signaling. Thus, IGF-I and IGF-II activate distinct signaling cascades, with IGF-II eliciting a stronger differentiation effect correlated with down-regulation of G(α12) protein. Short-term stimulation of NFB4 cells with IGF-I, a mitogenic signal for myoblasts, also induced ERK-1 and -2 activation. Transient stimulation of NFB4 cells with IGF-I while blocking activation of G1-proteins is with pertussis toxin resulted in preferential activation of ERK-2 characteristic of differentiated C2C12 cells, suggesting that proliferation induced by IGF-I is G1-dependent and separable from the IGF- I-signaling pathway that leads to differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2038-2047
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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