As detected by coimmunoprecipitation from PC12 cells, NGF induces rapid association between ERK1 (a growth factor-activated serine/threonine protein kinase) and gp140prototrk NGF receptors. In contrast, no such association is found with the closely related ERK2. Anti-trk immunocomplexes generated from NGF-treated cells also contain protein kinase activity that shares many properties with soluble ERK1. The association of both ERK1 protein and ERK-like kinase activity with gp140prototrk is maximal by 5 min of NGF treatment, persists for approximately 1 hr, and subsequently declines by 18 hr. Treatment with either basic fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor, or orthovanadate also leads to association of ERK1 with gp140prototrk without tyrosine phosphorylation of the latter. The interaction between ERK1 and gp140prototrk may prove relevant to the NGF mechanism.
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