A transcription factor, cyclic AMP-response element binding protein (CREB), which is phosphorylated by protein kinases (PKA and PKC), is known to be involved in the regulation of oligodendrocyte differentiation. However, it is still unclear whether protein kinase A (PKA) and protein kinase C (PKC) are used simultaneously or at different time points to phosphorylate CREB in oligodendrocytes and whether CREB phosphorylation advances oligodendrocyte differentiation or vise versa. Our previous experiments have shown that in the differentiation process from immature to mature cells, CREB phosphorylation depends on PKC activity and leads to the progression of differentiation. In order to gain a better understanding of the process of differentiation from progenitor to immature cells, we identified which protein kinase, i.e., PKA or PKC, regulates CREB phosphorylation and we determined whether CREB phosphorylation advances differentiation or the reverse. Our results showed that CREB phosphorylation is principally regulated by PKA activity in progenitor cells but not by PKC activity, and that this phosphorylation advances the differentiation of progenitor cells to immature cells in oligodendrocytes.
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