Cytoskeleton (Hoboken, N.J.)

Microtubule-regulating proteins and cAMP-dependent signaling in neuroblastoma differentiation.

PMID 28164467


Neurons are highly differentiated cells responsible for the conduction and transmission of information in the nervous system. The proper function of a neuron relies on the compartmentalization of their intracellular domains. Differentiated neuroblastoma cells have been extensively used to study and understand the physiology and cell biology of neuronal cells. Here, we show that differentiation of N1E-115 neuroblastoma cells is more pronounced upon exposure of a chemical analog of cyclic AMP (cAMP), db-cAMP. We next analysed the expression of key microtubule-regulating proteins in differentiated cells and the expression and activation of key cAMP players such as EPAC, PKA and AKAP79/150. Most of the microtubule-promoting factors were up regulated during differentiation of N1E-115 cells, while microtubule-destabilizing proteins were down regulated. We observed an increase in tubulin post-translational modifications related to microtubule stability. As expected, db-cAMP increased PKA- and EPAC-dependent signalling. Consistently, pharmacological modulation of EPAC activity instructed cell differentiation, number of neurites, and neurite length in N1E-115 cells. Moreover, disruption of the PKA-AKAP interaction reduced these morphometric parameters. Interestingly, PKA and EPAC act synergistically to induce neuronal differentiation in N1E-115. Altogether these results show that the changes observed in the differentiation of N1E-115 cells proceed by regulating several microtubule-stabilizing factors, and the acquisition of a neuronal phenotype is a process involving concerted although independent functions of EPAC and PKA.