Retinoic acid (RA) is the active metabolite of vitamin A and essential for many physiological processes, particularly the induction of cell differentiation. In addition to regulating genomic transcriptional activity via RA receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs), non-genomic mechanisms of RA have been described, including the regulation of ERK1/2 kinase phosphorylation, but are poorly characterised. In this study, we test the hypothesis that genomic and non-genomic mechanisms of RA are regulated independently with respect to the involvement of ligand-dependent RA receptors. A panel of 28 retinoids (compounds with vitamin A-like activity) showed a marked disparity in genomic (gene expression) versus non-genomic (ERK1/2 phosphorylation) assays. These results demonstrate that the capacity of a compound to activate gene transcription does not necessarily correlate with its ability to regulate a non-genomic activity such as ERK 1/2 phosphorylation. Furthermore, a neurite outgrowth assay indicated that retinoids that could only induce either genomic, or non-genomic activities, were not strong promoters of neurite outgrowth, and that activities with respect to both transcriptional regulation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation produced maximum neurite outgrowth. These results suggest that the development of effective retinoids for clinical use will depend on the selection of compounds which have maximal activity in non-genomic as well as genomic assays.
Support was received from BBSRC grant BB/P004806/1.
Availability of data and materials
The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
- retinoic acid
- vitamin a
- neurite outgrowth
- Vitamin a
- Retinoic acid
- Neurite outgrowth