Angiotensin II (Ang II) stimulates expression of tyrosine hydroxylase and norepinephrine transporter genes in brain neurons; however, the signal-transduction mechanism is not clearly defined. This study was conducted to determine the involvement of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase signaling pathway in Ang II stimulation of these genes. MAP kinase was localized in the perinuclear region of the neuronal soma. Ang II caused activation of MAP kinase and its subsequent translocation from the cytoplasmic to nuclear compartment, both effects being mediated by AT1 receptor subtype. Ang II also stimulated SRE- and AP1-binding activities and fos gene expression and its translocation in a MAP kinase-dependent process. These observations are the first demonstration of a downstream signaling pathway involving MAP kinase in Ang II-mediated neuromodulation in noradrenergic neurons.

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