Nerve Growth Factor Potentiates p53 DNA Binding but Inhibits Nitric Oxide-Induced Apoptosis in Neuronal PC12 Cells
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NGF is recognized for its role in neuronal differentiation and maintenance. Differentiation of PC12 cells by NGF involves p53, a transcription factor that controls growth arrest and apoptosis. We investigated NGF influence over p53 activity during NO-induced apoptosis by sodium nitroprusside in differentiated and mitotic PC12 cells. NGF-differentiation produced increased p53 levels, nuclear localization and sequence-specific DNA binding. Apoptosis in mitotic cells also produced these events but the accompanying activation of caspases 1-10 and mitochondrial depolarization were inhibited during NGF differentiation and could be reversed in p53-silenced cells. Transcriptional regulation of PUMA and survivin expression were not inhibited by NGF, although NO-induced mitochondrial depolarization was dependent upon de novo gene transcription and only occurred in mitotic cells. We conclude that NGF mediates prosurvival signaling by increasing factors such as Bcl-2 and p21Waf1/Cip1 without altering p53 transcriptional activity to inhibit mitochondrial depolarization, caspase activation and apoptosis.