Adenosine-dependent activation of tyrosine hydroxylase is defective in adenosine kinase-deficient PC12 cells
(R)-N6-Phenylisopropyladenosine (PIA) stimulates dopa production 3- to 5-fold in PC12 cells, with a half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) of 50 nM. This increase can be explained by a stable activation of tyrosine hydroxylase [TyrOHase; L-tyrosine, tetrahydropteridine:oxygen oxidoreductase (3-hydroxylating), EC 184.108.40.206] when it is phosphorylated by a cAMP-dependent protein kinase. The activation of TyrOHase is mediated by the adenosine-dependent activation of adenylate cyclase (EC50 = 600 nM). PIA (10 microM) is as effective as cholera toxin or dibutyryl cAMP in activating TyrOHase in wild-type cells. Adenosine kinase-deficient mutants of PC12 were found to be resistant to PIA-dependent activation of TyrOHase (EC50 = 100-1000 nM). This phenomenon was explored in detail in one adenosine kinase-deficient mutant and was shown to occur because the mutant was resistant to the adenosine-dependent activation of adenylate cyclase. In this mutant, TyrOHase was activated 14-fold by cholera toxin, suggesting that activated TyrOHase is about 14 times as active as unactivated TyrOHase. These studies with kinase-deficient PC12 cells provide genetic evidence that adenosine-dependent activation of TyrOHase is mediated by acute increases in cAMP. When the adenosine receptor found on PC12 cells is expressed in vivo, it might function as either a presynaptic (i.e., localized on the nerve terminal) or a postsynaptic (i.e., localized on the cell body or dendrite) receptor that regulates rates of transmitter synthesis in response to cell activity.