Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide induces tyrosine hydroxylase in PC12 cells

M. Wessels-Reiker, J. W. Haycock, A. C. Howlett, R. Strong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Physiological stress induces tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme for catecholamine biosynthesis, via trans-synaptic mechanisms within the adrenal medulla. Previous studies have implicated cAMP as a second messenger capable of inducing tyrosine hydroxylase; however, it is unclear whether any receptor coupled to adenylate cyclase mediates tyrosine hydroxylase induction. Recently, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, whose receptor is coupled to adenylate cyclase in many tissues, has been shown to meet many of the criteria for a neuromodulator within the adrenal medulla. We therefore undertook a series of studies to determine whether vasoactive intestinal polypeptide may induce tyrosine hydroxylase in PC12 cells, a cell line derived from rat adrenal medulla. Here we report that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide produces a transient, time- and concentration-dependent increase in tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA levels which is followed by a stable increase in tyrosine hydroxylase protein. The increase in tyrosine hydroxylase mRNA does not occur in a mutant PC12 cell line deficient in cAMP-dependent protein kinase activity, indicating that the effect of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide is mediated through the cAMP second messenger pathway. This is the first report demonstrating that a neuromodulator which acts on an adenylate cyclase-coupled receptor can induce tyrosine hydroxylase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9347-9350
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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