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DARPP-32 is required for MAPK/ERK signaling in thyroid cells

, : DARPP-32 is required for MAPK/ERK signaling in thyroid cells. Molecular Endocrinology 26(3): 471-480

Modulation of MAPK signaling duration by cAMP defines its physiological output by driving cells toward proliferation or differentiation. Understanding how the kinetics of MAPK signaling are integrated with other cellular signals is a key issue in development and cancer. Here we show that dopamine and cAMP-regulated neuronal phosphoprotein, 32 kDa (DARPP-32), a protein required for thyroid cell differentiation, determines whether MAPK/ERK activation is sustained or transient. Serum, a stimulus that activates MAPK signaling and does not independently increase DARPP-32 levels results in transient activation of the MAPK pathway. By contrast, TSH + (IGF-I) activate MAPK signaling but also independently increase DARPP-32 levels. Our results are consistent with a model in which maintenance of DARPP-32 expression by TSH + IGF-I leads to sustained MAPK signaling. Moreover, the sensitivity of MAPK/ERK signaling in thyroid cells is lost when de novo DARPP-32 expression is blocked by small interfering RNA. Because both DARPP-32 levels and function as inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1, a key inhibitor of MAPK kinase activity, are governed by cAMP/protein kinase A, the results may explain why in thyroid cells cAMP signaling downstream from TSH controls the duration of MAPK pathway activity. Thus, fine-tuning of DARPP-32 levels leads to changes in the kinetics or sensitivity of MAPK/ERK signaling. Given the implications of MAPK signaling in thyroid cancer and the loss of DARPP-32 in tumor and transformed thyroid cells, DARPP-32 may represent a key therapeutic target.


PMID: 22301787

DOI: 10.1210/me.2011-1309

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