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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 3849087, 13 pages
Research Article

Neuregulin 1 Promotes Glutathione-Dependent Neuronal Cobalamin Metabolism by Stimulating Cysteine Uptake

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2Department of Neurology, F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA

Received 9 August 2015; Revised 10 October 2015; Accepted 12 October 2015

Academic Editor: David Pattison

Copyright © 2016 Yiting Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neuregulin 1 (NRG-1) is a key neurotrophic factor involved in energy homeostasis and CNS development, and impaired NRG-1 signaling is associated with neurological disorders. Cobalamin (Cbl), also known as vitamin B12, is an essential micronutrient which mammals must acquire through diet, and neurologic dysfunction is a primary clinical manifestation of Cbl deficiency. Here we show that NRG-1 stimulates synthesis of the two bioactive Cbl species adenosylcobalamin (AdoCbl) and methylcobalamin (MeCbl) in human neuroblastoma cells by both promoting conversion of inactive to active Cbl species and increasing neuronal Cbl uptake. Formation of active Cbls is glutathione- (GSH-) dependent and the NRG-1-initiated increase is dependent upon its stimulation of cysteine uptake by excitatory amino acid transporter 3 (EAAT3), leading to increased GSH. The stimulatory effect of NRG-1 on cellular Cbl uptake is associated with increased expression of megalin, which is known to facilitate Cbl transport in ileum and kidney. MeCbl is a required cofactor for methionine synthase (MS) and we demonstrate the ability of NRG-1 to increase MS activity, and affect levels of methionine methylation cycle metabolites. Our results identify novel neuroprotective roles of NRG-1 including stimulating antioxidant synthesis and promoting active Cbl formation.