Hypoxia induces selective SAPK/JNK-2-AP-1 pathway activation in the nucleus tractus solitarii of the conscious rat

Evelyne Gozal, Narong Simakajornboon, Jason D. Dausman, Ying Dan Xue, Miriam Corti, Samir S. El-Dahr, David Gozal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


In the nucleus tractus solitarii, NMDA glutamate receptors are critical to the hypoxic ventilatory response. However, the signal transduction pathways underlying the hypoxic ventilatory response remain undefined. To assess the effect of a moderate hypoxic stimulus (10% O2) on tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins in the nucleus tractus solitarii, tissue lysates were harvested by repeated punch sampling at 0, 1, 10, and 60 min of hypoxia and examined for the presence of phosphorylated tyrosine residues by immunoblotting. Time-dependent phosphotyrosine increases occurred in proteins migrating at regions corresponding to molecular masses of 38-42, 50, 55, and 60 kDa, which were attenuated by pretreatment with the NMDA receptor channel blocker, MK-801. As extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) and stress- activated protein kinase/c-Jun N-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) phosphorylation may induce Fos and Jun gene transcription and activator protein-1 (AP,1) DNA binding, the activation of Erk1, Erk2, p38, and SAPK/JNK was examined in the nucleus tractus solitarii and neocortex during hypoxia and following administration of MK-801. Hypoxia enhanced Erk1, Erk2, and p38 activity in the cortex, but not in the nucleus tractus solitarii. Increased phosphorylation of SEK1 and SAPK/JNK-2 occurred in the nucleus tractus solitarii during hypoxia, whereas both SAPK/JNK-1 and SAPK/JNK-2 were recruited in cortex. MK-801 attenuated hypoxia-induced SEK1, SAPK/JNK-2, and AP-1 binding in the nucleus tractus solitarii, and the widespread activation of all MAP kinases in the cortex was also attenuated. We conclude that in conscious rats, a moderate hypoxic stimulus elicits NMDA-dependent widespread mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in cortex, but selective SAPK/JNK-2 and AP-1 activation in the nucleus tractus solitarii, thereby suggesting a functional role for the SAPK/JNK-2-AP-1 pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-674
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Activator protein-1
  • Glutamate
  • Hypoxia
  • Mitogen-activated kinases
  • Respiratory control
  • Signal transduction
  • Transcription factors
  • Tyrosine phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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