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JNK Signaling Pathway Involvement in Spinal Cord Neuron Development and Death

Department of Neuroscience Rita Levi Montalcini, University of Turin, 10126 Turin, Italy
Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi, University of Turin, 10043 Orbassano (TO), Italy
National Institute of Neuroscience (INN), 10125 Turin, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Cells 2019, 8(12), 1576;
Received: 12 November 2019 / Revised: 2 December 2019 / Accepted: 3 December 2019 / Published: 5 December 2019
The c-Jun NH2-terminal protein kinase (JNK) is a Janus-faced kinase, which, in the nervous system, plays important roles in a broad range of physiological and pathological processes. Three genes, encoding for 10 JNK isoforms, have been identified: jnk1, jnk2, and jnk3. In the developing spinal cord, JNK proteins control neuronal polarity, axon growth/pathfinding, and programmed cell death; in adulthood they can drive degeneration and regeneration, after pathological insults. Indeed, recent studies have highlighted a role for JNK in motor neuron (MN) diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy. In this review we discuss how JNK-dependent signaling regulates apparently contradictory functions in the spinal cord, in both the developmental and adult stages. In addition, we examine the evidence that the specific targeting of JNK signaling pathway may represent a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of MN diseases. View Full-Text
Keywords: JNK; spinal cord; motor neurons; MAP kinase JNK; spinal cord; motor neurons; MAP kinase
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Schellino, R.; Boido, M.; Vercelli, A. JNK Signaling Pathway Involvement in Spinal Cord Neuron Development and Death. Cells 2019, 8, 1576.

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