APP, MCP-1, differentiation, migration, astrocytes, neuroprogenitor, neurons


Neuroprogenitor cells are an important resource because of their potential to replace damaged cells in the brain caused by trauma and disease. It is of great importance to better understand which factors influence the differentiation and migration of these cells. Previously it has been reported that neuroprogenitor cells undergoing apoptotic stress have increased levels of Amyloid precursor protein (APP) and increased APP expression results in glial differentiation. APP activity was also shown to be required for staurosporine induced glial differentiation of neuroprogenitor cells. Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) is a chemokine that is expressed during inflammatory. The binding of MCP-1 to its chemokine receptor induces expression of novel transcription factor MCP-1 induced protein (MCPIP). MCPIP expression subsequently leads to cell death. Previous studies have shown that pro apoptotic factors have the ability to induce neural differentiation. Therefore, we investigated if MCPIP expression leads to differentiation of NT2 neuroprogenitor cells. Results showed that MCPIP expression increased glial fibrillary acid protein expression and also caused distinct morphological changes, both indicative of glial differentiation. Similar results were observed with MCP-1 treatment. Interestingly, APP expression decreased in response to MCPIP. Instead, we found APP activity regulates expression of both MCP-1 and MCPIP. Furthermore, inhibition of either p38 MAPK or JAK signaling pathways significantly reduced APP's effect on MCP-1 and MCPIP. These data demonstrate the role APP has in glial differentiation of NT2 cells through MCP-1/MCPIP signaling. It is possible that increased APP expression after CNS injury could play a ii role in MCP-1 production, possibly promoting astrocyte activation at injured site. We next investigated the effect that MCP-1 has on NT2 cell migration. Studies have shown that when neuroprogenitor cells are transplanted into the brain they migrate towards damaged areas, suggesting that these areas express factors that recruit migrating cells. Generally, after neuronal injury there is a neuroinflammatory response that results in increased chemokine production. We demonstrate that MCP-1 significantly induces the migration of NT2 neuroprogenitor cells. Activation of intracellular cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) or protein kinase C with forskolin and phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), respectively, was able to completely abolish the MCP-1 induced migration. Contrarily, neither extracellular signal-regulated kinase or p38 mitogen activated protein kinase was required for NT2 cells to respond to MCP-1. Interestingly, APP's ability to activate MCP-1 expression was shown to play a role in NT2 cell migration. We showed that NT2 cells expressing APP were capable of inducing migration of other neuroprogenitor cells. Utilizing a MCP-1 neutralizing antibody we discovered that APP induced migration was not caused solely by increased MCP-1 production. Interestingly, APP increased expression of several C-C chemokines: MCP-1, Regulated upon Activation, Normal T-cell Expressed, and Secreted (RANTES), and macrophage inflammatory protein alpha (MIP-1 alpha). This demonstrates the unique role APP has in regulating chemokine production, which directly affects cell migration. Taken together, this study provides us with a greater understanding of the mechanisms involved in both glial differentiation and migration of NT2 neuroprogenitor cells.


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Graduation Date



Sugaya, Kiminobu


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences


Biomolecular Science

Degree Program

Biomedical Sciences








Release Date

February 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)