The Gαo/i-coupled cannabinoid receptor-mediated neurite outgrowth involves rap regulation of Src and Stat3

John Cijiang He, Ivone Gomes, Tracy Nguyen, Gomathi Jayaram, Prahlad T. Ram, Lakshmi A. Devi, Ravi Iyengar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


The study of the signaling pathways regulating neurite outgrowth in culture is important because of their potential role in neuronal differentiation in vivo. We have previously shown that the Gαo/i-coupled CB1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) activates Rap1 to induce neurite outgrowth. Gαo/i also activates the Src-Stat3 pathway. Here, we studied the relationship between the Gao/i-Rap1 and Src-Stat3 pathways and the role of these signaling pathways in CB1R-mediated neurite outgrowth in Neuro-2A cells. The CB1 agonist HU-210 induced pertussis toxin-sensitive Src and Stat3 phosphorylation. Dominant negative (DN) mutants of Src and Stat3 blocked CB1R-induced neurite outgrowth. Constitutively active Rap 1B and Ral-activated Src and CB1R-induced Src phosphorylation was inhibited by Rap1-DN and Ral-DN, indicating that both Rap1 and Ral mediate downstream signaling from Gαo/i for Src activation. Rap1-activated Ral and Ral-DN blocked Rap-induced Src phosphorylation. Gαo-induced Stat3 activation was blocked by Ral-DN, whereas v-Src-induced Stat3 activation was not inhibited by Ral-DN, indicating that the CB1R, through Gαo, mediates the sequential activation of Rap1 to Ral to Src to Stat3 in Neuro-2A cells. Downstream of Src, the CB1R also activated Rac1 and JNK, which enhanced CBR1-mediated Stat3 activation. Rac-DN blocked CB1R-induced activation of JNK. Pharmacological inhibition of JNK blocked Src and CB1R activation of Stat3, indicating that Rac and JNK are also involved in CB1R-mediated neurite outgrowth. Overall, this study demonstrated that Gαo/i-coupled CB1R triggers neurite outgrowth in Neuro-2A through the activation of a signaling network containing two pathways that bifurcate at Src and converge at Stat3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33426-33434
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
StatePublished - 30 Sep 2005


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