Scientific reports

Cell-permeable p38 MAP kinase promotes migration of adult neural stem/progenitor cells.

PMID 27067799


Endogenous neural stem/progenitor cells (NPCs) can migrate toward sites of injury, but the migration activity of NPCs is insufficient to regenerate damaged brain tissue. In this study, we showed that p38 MAP kinase (p38) is expressed in doublecortin-positive adult NPCs. Experiments using the p38 inhibitor SB203580 revealed that endogenous p38 participates in NPC migration. To enhance NPC migration, we generated a cell-permeable wild-type p38 protein (PTD-p38WT) in which the HIV protein transduction domain (PTD) was fused to the N-terminus of p38. Treatment with PTD-p38WT significantly promoted the random migration of adult NPCs without affecting cell survival or differentiation; this effect depended on the cell permeability and kinase activity of the fusion protein. These findings indicate that PTD-p38WT is a novel and useful tool for unraveling the roles of p38, and that this protein provides a reasonable approach for regenerating the injured brain by enhancing NPC migration.