Human sPLA2-III [group III secreted PLA2 (phospholipase A2)] is an atypical sPLA2 isoenzyme that consists of a central group III sPLA2 domain flanked by unique N- and C-terminal domains. In the present study, we found that sPLA2-III is expressed in neuronal cells, such as peripheral neuronal fibres, spinal DRG (dorsal root ganglia) neurons and cerebellar Purkinje cells. Adenoviral expression of sPLA2-III in PC12 cells (pheochromocytoma cells) or DRG explants facilitated neurite outgrowth, whereas expression of a catalytically inactive sPLA2-III mutant or use of sPLA2-III-directed siRNA (small interfering RNA) reduced NGF (nerve growth factor)-induced neuritogenesis. sPLA2-III also suppressed neuronal death induced by NGF deprivation. Lipid MS revealed that sPLA2-III overexpression increased the cellular level of lysophosphatidylcholine, a PLA2 reaction product with neuritogenic and neurotropic activities, whereas siRNA knockdown reduced the level of lysophosphatidylcholine. These observations suggest the potential contribution of sPLA2-III to neuronal differentiation and its function under certain conditions.

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