Protein phosphatases and their potential implications in neuroprotective processes
Several neurological disorders such as stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and epilepsy result from excitotoxic events and are accompanied by neuronal cell death. These processes engage multiple signalling pathways and recruit numerous molecular components, in particular several families of protein kinases and protein phosphatases. While many investigations have examined the importance of protein kinases in excitotoxicity, protein phosphatases have not been well studied in this context. However, recent advances in understanding the functions of protein phosphatases have suggested that they may play a neuroprotective role. In this review, we summarize some of the recent findings that illustrate the pleiotropic and complex functions of tyrosine and serine/threonine protein phosphatases in the cascade of events leading to neuronal cell death, and highlight their potential intervention in limiting the extent of neuronal death.
Key words.Tyrosine phosphatase serine/threonine phosphatase excitotoxicity neuroprotection NMDA receptor
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