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1.  Protein kinase C βII and TGFβRII in ω-3 fatty acid–mediated inhibition of colon carcinogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2002;157(6):915-920.
Încreasing evidence demonstrates that protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) promotes colon carcinogenesis. We previously reported that colonic PKCβII is induced during colon carcinogenesis in rodents and humans, and that elevated expression of PKCβII in the colon of transgenic mice enhances colon carcinogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that PKCβII represses transforming growth factor β receptor type II (TGFβRII) expression and reduces sensitivity to TGF-β–mediated growth inhibition in intestinal epithelial cells. Transgenic PKCβII mice exhibit hyperproliferation, enhanced colon carcinogenesis, and marked repression of TGFβRII expression. Chemopreventive dietary ω-3 fatty acids inhibit colonic PKCβII activity in vivo and block PKCβII-mediated hyperproliferation, enhanced carcinogenesis, and repression of TGFβRII expression in the colonic epithelium of transgenic PKCβII mice. These data indicate that dietary ω-3 fatty acids prevent colon cancer, at least in part, through inhibition of colonic PKCβII signaling and restoration of TGF-β responsiveness.
PMCID: PMC2174056  PMID: 12058013
protein kinase C; colon carcinogenesis; ω-3 fatty acids; transforming growth factor β; hyperproliferation
2.  PKCβII inhibition attenuates myocardial infarction induced heart failure and is associated with a reduction of fibrosis and pro-inflammatory responses 
Protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) levels increase in the myocardium of patients with end-stage heart failure (HF). Also targeted over-expression of PKCβII in the myocardium of mice leads to dilated cardiomyopathy associated with inflammation, fibrosis and myocardial dysfunction. These reports suggest a deleterious role of PKCβII in HF development. Using a post-myocardial infarction (MI) model of heart failure in rats, we determined the benefit of chronic inhibition of PKCβII on the progression of heart failure over a period of 6 weeks after the onset of symptoms and the cellular basis for these effects. Four weeks after MI, rats with HF signs that were treated for 6 weeks with the PKCβII selective inhibitor (βIIV5-3 conjugated to TAT47-57 alone) (3mg/kg/day) showed improved fractional shortening (from 21% to 35%) compared to control (TAT47-57 alone). Formalin-fixed mid-ventricle tissue sections stained with picrosirius red, hematoxylin-eosin and toluidine blue dyes exhibited a 150% decrease in collagen deposition, a two-fold decrease in inflammation and a 30% reduction in mast cell degranulation, respectively, in rat hearts treated with the selective PKCβII inhibitor. Further, a 90% decrease in active TGFβ1 and a significant reduction in SMAD2/3 phosphorylation indicated that the selective inhibition of PKCβII attenuates cardiac remodeling mediated by the TGF-SMAD signaling pathway. Therefore, sustained selective inhibition of PKCβII in a post-MI HF rat model improves cardiac function and is associated with inhibition of pathological myocardial remodeling.
PMCID: PMC3136735  PMID: 20874717
Protein kinase; PKCβII inhibitor peptide; cardiac remodeling; heart failure; myocardial infarction; mast cells, myocardial fibrosis; inflammation
3.  Stanniocalcin-1 promotes tumor angiogenesis through up-regulation of VEGF in gastric cancer cells 
Stanniocalcin-1(STC-1) is up-regulated in several cancers including gastric cancer. Evidences suggest that STC-1 is associated with carcinogenesis and angiogenic process. However, it is unclear on the exact role for STC-1 in inducing angiogenesis and tumorigeneisis.
BGC/STC cells (high-expression of STC-1) and BGC/shSTC cells (low- expression of STC-1) were constructed to investigate the effect of STC-1 on the xenograft tumor growth and angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. ELISA assay was used to detect the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in the supernatants. Neutralizing antibody was used to inhibit VEGF expression in supernatants. The expression of phosphorylated -PKCβII, phosphorylated -ERK1/2 and phosphorylated -P38 in the BGC treated with STC-1protein was detected by western blot.
STC-1 could promote angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, and the angiogenesis was consistent with VEGF expression in vitro. Inhibition of VEGF expression in supernatants with neutralizing antibody markedly abolished angiogenesis induced by STC-1 in vitro. The process of STC-1-regulated VEGF expression was mediated via PKCβII and ERK1/2.
STC-1 promotes the expression of VEGF depended on the activation of PKCβII and ERK1/2 pathways. VEGF subsequently enhances tumor angiogenesis which in turn promotes the gastric tumor growth.
PMCID: PMC3142497  PMID: 21672207
STC-1; angiogenesis; VEGF; PKCβII; ERK1/2
4.  Developmentally spliced PKCβII provides a possible link between mTORC2 and Akt kinase to regulate 3T3-L1 adipocyte insulin-stimulated glucose transport 
Functional adipocyte glucose disposal is a key component of global glucose homeostasis. PKCβII is involved in rat skeletal muscle cell ISGT. Western blot analysis and Real-Time PCR revealed 3T3-L1 cells developmentally regulated PKCβ splicing such that PKCβI was downregulated and PKCβII was upregulated during the course of differentiation. An initial glucose uptake screen using PKC inhibitor LY379196 pointed to a PKC isozyme other than PKCζ mediating 3T3-L1 adipocyte ISGT. Subsequent use of PKCβII inhibitor CGP53353 pointed to a role for PKCβII in ISGT. Western blot analysis showed that CGP53353 specifically inhibited phosphorylation of PKCβII Serine 660. Subcellular fractionation and immunofluorescence demonstrated that PKCβII regulates GLUT4 translocation. Further western blot, immunofluorescence and co-immunoprecipitation analysis reveal that PKCβII inhibition does not affect mTORC2 activity yet abrogates phosphorylation of Akt Serine 473. PKCβII regulates GLUT4 translocation by regulating Akt phosphorylation and thus activity.
PMCID: PMC3033743  PMID: 19686698
5.  Protein Kinase Cβ Is an Effective Target for Chemoprevention of Colon Cancer 
Cancer research  2009;69(4):1643-1650.
Colon cancer develops over a period of 10 to 15 years, providing a window of opportunity for chemoprevention and early intervention. However, few molecular targets for effective colon cancer chemoprevention have been characterized and validated. Protein kinase CβII (PKCβII) plays a requisite role in the initiation of colon carcinogenesis in a preclinical mouse model by promoting proliferation and increased β-catenin accumulation. In this study, we test the hypothesis that PKCβII is an effective target for colon cancer chemoprevention using enzastaurin (LY317615), a PKCβ-selective inhibitor, in a mouse model of colon carcinogenesis. We find that enzastaurin potently reduces azoxymethane-induced colon tumor initiation and progression by inhibiting PKCβII-mediated tumor cell proliferation and β-catenin accumulation. Biochemically, enzastaurin reduces expression of the PKCβII- and β-catenin/T-cell factor–regulated genes PKCβII, cyclooxygenase II, and vascular endothelial growth factor, three genes implicated in colon carcinogenesis. Our results show that enzastaurin is an effective chemopreventive agent in a mouse model of sporadic colon cancer that significantly reduces both tumor initiation and progression by inhibiting expression of proproliferative genes. Thus, PKCβII is an important target for colon cancer chemoprevention and the PKCβ-selective inhibitor enzastaurin may represent an effective chemopreventive agent in patients at high risk for colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC2745055  PMID: 19221092
6.  Enzastaurin, an inhibitor of PKCβ, Enhances Antiangiogenic Effects and Cytotoxicity of Radiation against Endothelial Cells1,2 
Translational Oncology  2008;1(4):195-201.
PURPOSE: Angiogenesis plays an important role in pancreas cancer pathobiology. Pancreatic tumor cells secrete vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), activating endothelial cell protein kinase C beta (PKCβ) that phosphorylates GSK3β to suppress apoptosis and promote endothelial cell proliferation and microvessel formation. We used Enzastaurin (Enz) to test the hypothesis that inhibition of PKCβ results in radiosensitization of endothelial cells in culture and in vivo. MATERIALS/METHODS: We measured PKCβ phosphorylation, VEGF pathway signaling, colony formation, and capillary sprout formation in primary human dermal microvessel endothelial cells (HDMECs) after Enz or radiation (RT) treatment. Microvessel density and tumor volume of human pancreatic cancer xenografts in nude mice were measured after treatment with Enz, RT, or both. RESULTS: Enz inhibited PKCβ and radiosensitized HDMEC with an enhancement ratio of 1.31 ± 0.05. Enz combined with RT reduced HDMEC capillary sprouting to a greater extent than either agent alone. Enz prevented radiation-induced GSK3β phosphorylation of serine 9 while having no direct effect on VEGFR phosphorylation. Treatment of xenografts with Enz and radiation produced greater reductions in microvessel density than either treatment alone. The reduction in microvessel density corresponded with increased tumor growth delay. CONCLUSIONS: Enz-induced PKCβ inhibition radiosensitizes human endothelial cells and enhances the antiangiogenic effects of RT. The combination of Enz and RT reduced microvessel density and resulted in increased growth delay in pancreatic cancer xenografts, without increase in toxicity. These results provide the rationale for combining PKCβ inhibition with radiation and further investigating such regimens in pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC2582168  PMID: 19043530
7.  Protein Quality Control Disruption by PKCβII in Heart Failure; Rescue by the Selective PKCβII Inhibitor, βIIV5-3 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33175.
Myocardial remodeling and heart failure (HF) are common sequelae of many forms of cardiovascular disease and a leading cause of mortality worldwide. Accumulation of damaged cardiac proteins in heart failure has been described. However, how protein quality control (PQC) is regulated and its contribution to HF development are not known. Here, we describe a novel role for activated protein kinase C isoform βII (PKCβII) in disrupting PQC. We show that active PKCβII directly phosphorylated the proteasome and inhibited proteasomal activity in vitro and in cultured neonatal cardiomyocytes. Importantly, inhibition of PKCβII, using a selective PKCβII peptide inhibitor (βIIV5-3), improved proteasomal activity and conferred protection in cultured neonatal cardiomyocytes. We also show that sustained inhibition of PKCβII increased proteasomal activity, decreased accumulation of damaged and misfolded proteins and increased animal survival in two rat models of HF. Interestingly, βIIV5-3-mediated protection was blunted by sustained proteasomal inhibition in HF. Finally, increased cardiac PKCβII activity and accumulation of misfolded proteins associated with decreased proteasomal function were found also in remodeled and failing human hearts, indicating a potential clinical relevance of our findings. Together, our data highlights PKCβII as a novel inhibitor of proteasomal function. PQC disruption by increased PKCβII activity in vivo appears to contribute to the pathophysiology of heart failure, suggesting that PKCβII inhibition may benefit patients with heart failure. (218 words)
PMCID: PMC3316563  PMID: 22479367
8.  Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1 inhibits protein kinase C-mediated p66shc phosphorylation and vasoconstriction 
Cardiovascular Research  2011;91(3):502-509.
Phosphorylation of the adaptor protein p66shc is essential for p66shc-mediated oxidative stress. We investigated the role of the reducing protein/DNA repair enzyme apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease1 (APE1) in modulating protein kinase CβII (PKCβII)-mediated p66shc phosphorylation in cultured endothelial cells and PKC-mediated vasoconstriction of arteries.
Methods and results
Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL)induced p66shc phosphorylation at serine 36 residue and PKCβII phosphorylation in mouse endothelial cells. Adenoviral overexpression of APE1 resulted in reduction of oxLDL-induced p66shc and PKCβII phosphorylation. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), which stimulates PKCs, induced p66shc phosphorylation and this was inhibited by a selective PKCβII inhibitor. Adenoviral overexpression of PKCβII also increased p66shc phosphorylation. Overexpression of APE1 suppressed PMA-induced p66shc phosphorylation. Moreover, PMA-induced p66shc phosphorylation was augmented in cells in which APE1 was knocked down. PMA increased cytoplasmic APE1 expression, compared with the basal condition, suggesting the role of cytoplasmic APE1 against p66shc phosphorylation. Finally, vasoconstriction induced by phorbol-12,13, dibutylrate, another PKC agonist, was partially inhibited by transduction of Tat-APE1 into arteries.
APE1 suppresses oxLDL-induced p66shc activation in endothelial cells by inhibiting PKCβII-mediated serine phosphorylation of p66shc, and mitigates vasoconstriction induced by activation of PKC.
PMCID: PMC3139447  PMID: 21467074
p66shc; Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease1; Oxidized LDL; Protein kinase C; Endothelial cells
9.  Counter Regulatory Effects of PKCβII and PKCδ on Coronary Endothelial Permeability 
The aim of this study was to examine the endothelial distribution and activity of selected PKC isoforms in coronary vessels with respect to their functional impact on endothelial permeability under the experimental conditions relevant to diabetes.
Methods and Results
En face immunohistochemistry demonstrated a significant increase of PKCβII and decrease of PKCδ expression in coronary arterial endothelium of Zucker diabetic rats. To test whether changes in PKC expression alter endothelial barrier properties, we measured the transcellular electric resistance in human coronary microvascular endothelial monolayers and found that either PKCβII overexpression or PKCδ inhibition disrupted the cell–cell adhesive barrier. Three-dimensional fluorescence microscopy revealed that hyperpermeability was caused by altered PKC activity in association with distinct translocation of PKCβII to the cell–cell junction and PKCδ localization to the cytosol. Further analyses in fractionated endothelial lysates confirmed the differential redistribution of these isozymes. Additionally, FRET analysis of PKC subcellular dynamics demonstrated a high PKCβII activity at the cell surface and junction, whereas PKCδ activity is concentrated in intracellular membrane organelles.
Taken together, these data suggest that PKCβII and PKCδ counter-regulate coronary endothelial barrier properties by targeting distinctive subcellular sites. Imbalanced PKCβII/PKCδ expression and activity may contribute to endothelial hyperpermeability and coronary dysfunction in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2626185  PMID: 18497307
diabetes; inflammation; permeability; protein kinase; FRET
10.  Agonist Activated PKCβII Translocation and Modulation of Cardiac Myocyte Contractile Function 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1971.
Elevated protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) expression develops during heart failure and yet the role of this isoform in modulating contractile function remains controversial. The present study examines the impact of agonist-induced PKCβII activation on contractile function in adult cardiac myocytes. Diminished contractile function develops in response to low dose phenylephrine (PHE, 100 nM) in controls, while function is preserved in response to PHE in PKCβII-expressing myocytes. PHE also caused PKCβII translocation and a punctate distribution pattern in myocytes expressing this isoform. The preserved contractile function and translocation responses to PHE are blocked by the inhibitor, LY379196 (30 nM) in PKCβII-expressing myocytes. Further analysis showed downstream protein kinase D (PKD) phosphorylation and phosphatase activation are associated with the LY379196-sensitive contractile response. PHE also triggered a complex pattern of end-target phosphorylation in PKCβII-expressing myocytes. These patterns are consistent with bifurcated activation of downstream signaling activity by PKCβII.
PMCID: PMC3679501  PMID: 23756828
11.  Protein Kinase Cγ Regulates Myosin IIB Phosphorylation, Cellular Localization, and Filament Assembly 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(3):1364-1374.
Nonmuscle myosin II is an important component of the cytoskeleton, playing a major role in cell motility and chemotaxis. We have previously demonstrated that, on stimulation with epidermal growth factor (EGF), nonmuscle myosin heavy chain II-B (NMHC-IIB) undergoes a transient phosphorylation correlating with its cellular localization. We also showed that members of the PKC family are involved in this phosphorylation. Here we demonstrate that of the two conventional PKC isoforms expressed by prostate cancer cells, PKCβII and PKCγ, PKCγ directly phosphorylates NMHC-IIB. Overexpression of wild-type and kinase dead dominant negative PKCγ result in both altered NMHC-IIB phosphorylation and subcellular localization. We have also mapped the phosphorylation sites of PKCγ on NMHC-IIB. Conversion of the PKCγ phosphorylation sites to alanine residues, reduces the EGF-dependent NMHC-IIB phosphorylation. Aspartate substitution of these sites reduces NMHC-IIB localization into cytoskeleton. These results indicate that PKCγ regulates NMHC-IIB phosphorylation and cellular localization in response to EGF stimulation.
PMCID: PMC1382324  PMID: 16394101
12.  Role of Protein Kinase C βII in Influenza Virus Entry via Late Endosomes 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(1):460-469.
Many viruses take advantage of receptor-mediated endocytosis in order to enter target cells. We have utilized influenza virus and Semliki Forest virus (SFV) to define a role for protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) in endocytic trafficking. We show that specific PKC inhibitors prevent influenza virus infection, suggesting a role for classical isoforms of PKC. We also examined virus entry in cells overexpressing dominant-negative forms of PKCα and -β. Cells expressing a phosphorylation-deficient form of PKCβII (T500V), but not an equivalent mutant form of PKCα, inhibited successful influenza virus entry—with the virus accumulating in late endosomes. SFV, however, believed to enter cells from the early endosome, was unaffected by PKCβII T500V expression. We also examined the trafficking of two cellular ligands, transferrin and epidermal growth factor (EGF). PKCβII T500V expression specifically blocked EGF receptor trafficking and degradation, without affecting transferrin receptor recycling. As with influenza virus, in PKCβII kinase-dead cells, EGF receptor was trapped in a late endosome compartment. Our findings suggest that PKCβII is an important regulator of a late endosomal sorting event needed for influenza virus entry and infection.
PMCID: PMC140583  PMID: 12477851
13.  PKCβII Modulation of Myocyte Contractile Performance 
Significant up-regulation of the protein kinase CβII (PKCβII) develops during heart failure and yet divergent functional outcomes are reported in animal models. The goal here is to investigate PKCβII modulation of contractile function and gain insights into downstream targets in adult cardiac myocytes. Increased PKCβII protein expression and phosphorylation developed after gene transfer into adult myocytes while expression remained undetectable in controls. The PKCβII was distributed in a perinuclear pattern and this expression resulted in diminished rates and amplitude of shortening and re-lengthening compared to controls and myocytes expressing dominant negative PKCβII (PKCβDN). Similar decreases were observed in the Ca2+ transient and the Ca2+ decay rate slowed in response to caffeine in PKCβII-expressing myocytes. Parallel phosphorylation studies indicated PKCβII targets phosphatase activity to reduce phospholamban (PLB) phosphorylation at residue Thr17 (pThr17-PLB). The PKCβ inhibitor, LY379196 (LY) restored pThr17-PLB to control levels. In contrast, myofilament protein phosphorylation was enhanced by PKCβII expression, and individually, LY and the phosphatase inhibitor, calyculin A each failed to block this response. Further work showed PKCβII increased Ca2+- activated, calmodulin-dependent kinase IIδ (CaMKIIδ) expression and enhanced both CaMKIIδ and protein kinase D (PKD) phosphorylation. Phosphorylation of both signaling targets also was resistant to acute inhibition by LY. These later results provide evidence PKCβII modulates contractile function via intermediate downstream pathway(s) in cardiac myocytes.
PMCID: PMC3418922  PMID: 22587992
Protein kinase C; cardiac myocyte; contractile function; gene transfer
Cancer research  2009;69(2):656-662.
We previously demonstrated that elevated expression of either protein kinase CβII (PKCβII) or PKCι/λ enhances colon carcinogenesis in mice. Here we use novel bi-transgenic mice to determine the relative importance of PKCβII and PKCι/λ in colon carcinogenesis in two complimentary models of colon cancer in vivo. Bi-transgenic mice over-expressing PKCβII and constitutively active PKCι (PKCβII/caPKCι) or kinase-deficient, dominant negative PKCι (PKCβII/kdPKCι) in the colon exhibit a similar increase in colon tumor incidence, tumor size and tumor burden in response to azoxymethane (AOM) when compared to non-transgenic littermates. However, PKCβII/kdPKCι mice develop predominantly benign colonic adenomas whereas PKCβII/caPKCι mice develop malignant carcinomas. In contrast, PKCβ deficient (PKCβ−/−) mice fail to develop tumors even in the presence of caPKCι. Our previous data indicated that PKCβII drives tumorigenesis and proliferation by activating β-catenin/Apc signaling. Consistent with this conclusion, genetic deletion of PKCβ has no effect on spontaneous tumorigenesis in APCmin/+ mice. In contrast, tissue-specific knock out of PKCλ significantly suppresses intestinal tumor formation in APCmin/+ mice. Our data demonstrate that PKCβII and PKCι/λ serve distinct, non-overlapping functions in colon carcinogenesis. PKCβII is required for AOM-induced tumorigenesis, but is dispensable for tumor formation in ApcMin/+ mice. PKCι/λ promotes tumor progression in both AOM- and APCmin/+-induced tumorigenesis. Thus PKCβII and PKCι, whose expression is elevated in both rodent and human colon tumors, collaborate to drive colon tumor formation and progression, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2688739  PMID: 19147581
colon carcinogenesis; transgenic mice; β-catenin; proliferation; Adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc); intestinal tumorigenesis
Angiogenesis has generated interest in oncology due to its important role in cancer growth/progression, particularly when combined with cytotoxic therapies, such as radiotherapy. Among the numerous pathways influencing vascular growth and stability, inhibition of protein kinase B(Akt) or protein kinase C(PKC) can influence tumor blood vessels within tumor microvasculature. Therefore, we wanted to determine whether PKC inhibition could sensitize lung tumors to radiation.
Methods and Materials
The combination of the selective PKCβ inhibitor Enzastaurin(ENZ, LY317615) and ionizing radiation were used in cell culture and a mouse model of lung cancer. Lung cancer cell lines and human umbilical vascular endothelial cells(HUVEC) were examined using immunoblotting, cytotoxic assays including cell proliferation and clonogenic assays as well as Matrigel endothelial tubule formation. In vivo, H460 lung cancer xenografts were examined for tumor vasculature and proliferation using immunohistochemistry(IHC).
ENZ effectively radiosensitizes HUVEC within in vitro models. Furthermore, concurrent ENZ treatment of lung cancer xenografts enhanced radiation-induced destruction of tumor vasculature and proliferation by IHC. However, tumor growth delay was not enhanced with combination treatment compared to either treatment alone. Analysis of downstream effectors revealed that HUVEC and the lung cancer cell lines differed in their response to ENZ and radiation such that only HUVEC demonstrate phosphorylated S6 suppression, which is downstream of mTOR. When ENZ was combined with the mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, in H460 lung cancer cells, radiosensitization was observed.
PKC appears to be crucial for angiogenesis and its inhibition by ENZ has potential to enhance radiotherapy in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3688843  PMID: 19906497
Enzastaurin; PKC; radiation; lung cancer; angiogenesis
16.  Functional involvement of protein kinase C-βII and its substrate, myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS), in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells 
Diabetologia  2009;52(5):901-911.
Insulin stimulates phosphorylation cascades, including phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K), phosphatidylinositol-dependent kinase (PDK1), Akt, and protein kinase C (PKC). Myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS), a PKCβII substrate, could link the effects of insulin to insulin-stimulated glucose transport (ISGT) via phosphorylation of its effector domain since MARCKS has a role in cytoskeletal rearrangements.
We examined phosphoPKCβII after insulin treatment of L6 myocytes, and cytosolic and membrane phosphoMARCKS, MARCKS and phospholipase D1 in cells pretreated with LY294002 (PI3K inhibitor), CG53353 (PKCβII inhibitor) or W13 (calmodulin inhibitor), PI3K, PKCβII and calmodulin inhibitors, respectively, before insulin treatment, using western blots. ISGT was examined after cells had been treated with inhibitors, small inhibitory RNA (siRNA) for MARCKS, or transfection with MARCKS mutated at a PKC site. MARCKS, PKCβII, GLUT4 and insulin receptor were immunoblotted in subcellular fractions with F-actin antibody immunoprecipitates to demonstrate changes following insulin treatment. GLUT4 membrane insertion was followed after insulin with or without CG53353.
Insulin increased phosphoPKCβII(Ser660 and Thr641); LY294002 blocked this, indicating its activation by PI3K. Insulin treatment increased cytosolic phosphoMARCKS, decreased membrane MARCKS and increased membrane phospholipase D1 (PLD1), a protein regulating glucose transporter vesicle fusion resulted. PhosphoMARCKS was attenuated by CG53353 or MARCKS siRNA. MARCKS siRNA blocked ISGT. Association of PKCβII and GLUT4 with membrane F-actin was enhanced by insulin, as was that of cytosolic and membrane MARCKS. ISGT was attenuated in myocytes transfected with mutated MARCKS (Ser152Ala), whereas overproduction of wild-type MARCKS enhanced ISGT. CG53353 blocked insertion of GLUT4 into membranes of insulin treated cells.
The results suggest that PKCβII is involved in mediating downstream steps of ISGT through MARCKS phosphorylation and cytoskeletal remodelling.
PMCID: PMC2677811  PMID: 19252893
F-actin; Glucose transporter 4; Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake; L6 myocytes; MARCKS; Phospholipase D1; PKCβ
17.  Combination of Enzastaurin and Pemetrexed Inhibits Cell Growth and Induces Apoptosis of Chemoresistant Ovarian Cancer Cells Regulating Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase 1/2 Phosphorylation12 
Translational Oncology  2009;2(3):164-173.
New strategies in the therapy for malignant diseases depend on a targeted influence on signal transduction pathways that regulate proliferation, cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis by the activation of serine/threonine kinases. Enzastaurin (LY317615.HCl), a selective inhibitor of protein kinase Cβ (PKCβ), is one of these new drugs and causes inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Pemetrexed, a multitarget inhibitor of folate pathways, is broadly active in a wide variety of solid tumors. Therefore, the effect of enzastaurin and the combination treatment with pemetrexed was analyzed when applied to the drug-sensitive ovarian cancer cell line HEY and various subclones with drug resistance against cisplatin, etoposide, docetaxel, and paclitaxel, as well as pemetrexed, and gemcitabine. In these novel chemoresistant subclones, the expression of the enzastaurin targets PKCβII and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) was analyzed. Exposition to enzastaurin showed various inhibitory effects on phosphorylated forms of GSK3β and the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2. Cell proliferation experiments identified the cell line-specific half-maximal inhibitory concentration values of enzastaurin and a synergistic inhibitory effect by cotreatment with the antifolate pemetrexed. Induction of apoptosis by enzastaurin treatment was investigated by Cell Death Detection ELISA and immunoblot analyses. Simultaneous treatment with pemetrexed resulted in an enhanced inhibition of proliferation and induction of apoptosis even in partial enzastaurin-resistant cells. Therefore, the combinational effect of enzastaurin and pemetrexed can have promise in clinical application to overcome the fast-growing development of resistance to chemotherapy in ovarian cancer.
PMCID: PMC2730140  PMID: 19701501
18.  A Gynecologic Oncology Group phase II trial of the protein kinase C-beta inhibitor, enzastaurin and evaluation of markers with potential predictive and prognostic value in persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian and primary peritoneal malignancies 
Gynecologic oncology  2011;121(3):455-461.
Protein kinase C (PKC) activation contributes to proliferation and angiogenesis in epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma (EOC/PPC). A multi-institutional phase II trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and safety of PKCβ inhibitor enzastaurin in persistent or recurrent EOC/PPC and to explore potential prognostic and predictive biomarkers.
Eligible women with measurable platinum-sensitive and resistant EOC/PPC were treated with continuous administration of oral enzastaurin until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. A two-stage sequential design was used to evaluate progression-free survival (PFS) ≥ 6-months, tumor response, and toxicity. Translational studies included sequencing of the TP53, PTEN, PIK3CA and PKCβII genes for somatic mutations, quantitative PCR assays for AKT2 and PTEN copy number alterations, and measurement of circulating VEGF-A plasma levels.
Among 27 eligible and evaluable patients, 3 women with PFS ≥ 6-months (11%) and 2 women with partial responses (7%) were observed. One of them achieved a durable response and remains on the study. No grade 4 adverse events were observed. Most common grade 3 adverse events were constitutional (4) and gastrointestinal (3). Mutations in the TP53 gene and abnormal copy number in the PTEN gene were common (56% and 48% of cases, respectively).
Enzastaurin was tolerable but had insufficient activity to proceed with the second stage of accrual. However, 1 patient has been progression-free for 44 months. No association between a biomarker and response to enzastaurin has been found.
Exploratory analysis suggested an association between survival and PTEN copy number losses.
PMCID: PMC3100412  PMID: 21414654
Enzastaurin; ovarian cancer; VEGF PKCβ; TP53; PTEN; PIK3CA; AKT2
19.  Reduction of PKCβII Activity in Smooth Muscle Cells Attenuates Acute Arterial Injury 
Atherosclerosis  2010;212(1):123-130.
The ubiquitous enzyme Protein Kinase C (PKC) has been linked to the pathogenesis of vascular injury, but the cell-specific and discrete functions of the βII isoform have yet to be discovered in this setting. Our previous findings demonstrated significantly increased PKCβII in the membrane fraction of injured femoral arteries in wild type (WT) mice and revealed reduction of neointimal expansion in PKCβ-/- mice after acute vascular injury. As PKCβ-/- mice are globally devoid of PKCβ, we established novel transgenic (Tg) mice to test the hypothesis that the action of PKCβII specifically in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) mediates the formation of neointimal lesions in response to arterial injury.
Tg mice expressing SM22α promoter-targeted mouse carboxyl-terminal deletion mutant PKCβII were produced using standard techniques, subjected to femoral artery injury and compared with littermate controls. Smooth muscle cells (SMC) were isolated from wild-type (WT) and Tg mice and exposed to a prototypic stimulus, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. Multiple strategies were employed in vivo and in vitro to examine the molecular mechanisms underlying the specific effects of SMC PKCβII in neointimal expansion.
In vivo and in vitro analyses demonstrated that PKCβII activity in SMCs was critical for neointimal expansion in response to arterial injury, at least in part via regulation of ERK1/2, Egr-1 and induction of MMP-9.
These data identify the SMC-specific regulatory role of PKCβII in neointimal expansion in response to acute arterial injury, and suggest that targeted inactivation of PKCβII may be beneficial in limiting restenosis via suppression of the neointima-mediating effects of Egr-1 and MMP-9.
PMCID: PMC3138398  PMID: 20594553
arterial injury; transgenic mouse; mutant PKCβII; signal transduction; SMC
20.  Activation of PKCβII by PMA Facilitates Enhanced Epithelial Wound Repair through Increased Cell Spreading and Migration 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55775.
Rapid repair of epithelial wounds is essential for intestinal homeostasis, and involves cell proliferation and migration, which in turn are mediated by multiple cellular signaling events including PKC activation. PKC isoforms have been implicated in regulating cell proliferation and migration, however, the role of PKCs in intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) wound healing is still not completely understood. In the current work we used phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), a well recognized agonist of classical and non-conventional PKC subfamilies to investigate the effect of PKC activation on IEC wound healing. We found that PMA treatment of wounded IEC monolayers resulted in 5.8±0.7-fold increase in wound closure after 24 hours. The PMA effect was specifically mediated by PKCβII, as its inhibition significantly diminished the PMA-induced increase in wound closure. Furthermore, we show that the PKCβII-mediated increase in IEC wound closure after PMA stimulation was mediated by increased cell spreading/cell migration but not proliferation. Cell migration was mediated by PKCβII dependent actin cytoskeleton reorganization, enhanced formation of lamellipodial extrusions at the leading edge and increased activation of the focal adhesion protein, paxillin. These findings support a role for PKCβII in IEC wound repair and further demonstrate the ability of epithelial cells to migrate as a sheet thereby efficiently covering denuded surfaces to recover the intestinal epithelial barrier.
PMCID: PMC3569445  PMID: 23409039
21.  Protein Kinase Cβ Phosphorylates Occludin Regulating Tight Junction Trafficking in Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor–Induced Permeability In Vivo 
Diabetes  2012;61(6):1573-1583.
Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)–induced breakdown of the blood-retinal barrier requires protein kinase C (PKC)β activation. However, the molecular mechanisms related to this process remain poorly understood. In this study, the role of occludin phosphorylation and ubiquitination downstream of PKCβ activation in tight junction (TJ) trafficking and endothelial permeability was investigated. Treatment of bovine retinal endothelial cells and intravitreal injection of PKCβ inhibitors as well as expression of dominant-negative kinase was used to determine the contribution of PKCβ to endothelial permeability and occludin phosphorylation at Ser490 detected with a site-specific antibody. In vitro kinase assay was used to demonstrate direct occludin phosphorylation by PKCβ. Ubiquitination was measured by immunoblotting after occludin immunoprecipitation. Confocal microscopy revealed organization of TJ proteins. The results reveal that inhibition of VEGF-induced PKCβ activation blocks occludin Ser490 phosphorylation, ubiquitination, and TJ trafficking in retinal vascular endothelial cells both in vitro and in vivo and prevents VEGF-stimulated vascular permeability. Occludin Ser490 is a direct target of PKCβ, and mutating Ser490 to Ala (S490A) blocks permeability downstream of PKCβ. Therefore, PKCβ activation phosphorylates occludin on Ser490, leading to ubiquitination required for VEGF-induced permeability. These data demonstrate a novel mechanism for PKCβ targeted inhibitors in regulating vascular permeability.
PMCID: PMC3357276  PMID: 22438576
22.  Thymoquinone inhibits tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth through suppressing AKT and ERK signaling pathways 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2008;7(7):1789-1796.
Thymoquinone, a component derived from the medial plant Nigella sativa, has been used for medical purposes for more than two thousands of years. Recent studies reported that thymoquinone exhibited inhibitory effects on cell proliferation of many cancer cell lines and hormone-refractory prostate cancer by suppressing androgen receptor and E2F-1. Whether thymoquinone inhibits angiogenesis, the critical step of tumor growth and metastasis, is still unknown. In this study, we found that thymoquinone effectively inhibited human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) migration, invasion, and tube formation. Thymoquinone inhibited cell proliferation and suppressed the activation of AKT and ERK. Thymoquinone blocked angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo, prevented tumor angiogenesis in a xenograft human prostate cancer (PC3) model in mouse and inhibited human prostate tumor growth at low dosage with almost no chemotoxicitical side effects. Furthermore, we observed that endothelial cells were more sensitive to thymoquinone-induced cell apoptosis, cell proliferation and migration inhibition compared to PC3 cancer cells. Thymoquinone inhibited VEGF-induced ERK activation, but showed no inhibitory effects on VEGF receptor 2 activation. Overall, our results indicate that thymoquinone inhibits tumor angiogenesis and tumor growth, and could be used as a potential drug candidate for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2587125  PMID: 18644991
thymoquinone; angiogenesis inhibitor; tumor angiogenesis; HUVEC
23.  Ribosomal RACK1 promotes chemoresistance and growth in human hepatocellular carcinoma 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2012;122(7):2554-2566.
Coordinated translation initiation is coupled with cell cycle progression and cell growth, whereas excessive ribosome biogenesis and translation initiation often lead to tumor transformation and survival. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is among the most common and aggressive cancers worldwide and generally displays inherently high resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs. We found that RACK1, the receptor for activated C-kinase 1, was highly expressed in normal liver and frequently upregulated in HCC. Aberrant expression of RACK1 contributed to in vitro chemoresistance as well as in vivo tumor growth of HCC. These effects depended on ribosome localization of RACK1. Ribosomal RACK1 coupled with PKCβII to promote the phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E (eIF4E), which led to preferential translation of the potent factors involved in growth and survival. Inhibition of PKCβII or depletion of eIF4E abolished RACK1-mediated chemotherapy resistance of HCC in vitro. Our results imply that RACK1 may function as an internal factor involved in the growth and survival of HCC and suggest that targeting RACK1 may be an efficacious strategy for HCC treatment.
PMCID: PMC3386807  PMID: 22653060
24.  Regulation of RelB Expression during the Initiation of Dendritic Cell Differentiation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(17):7900-7916.
The transcription factor RelB is required for proper development and function of dendritic cells (DCs), and its expression is upregulated early during differentiation from a variety of progenitors. We explored this mechanism of upregulation in the KG1 cell line model of a DC progenitor and in the differentiation-resistant KG1a subline. RelB expression is relatively higher in untreated KG1a cells but is upregulated only during differentiation of KG1 by an early enhancement of transcriptional elongation, followed by an increase in transcription initiation. Restoration of protein kinase CβII (PKCβII) expression in KG1a cells allows them to differentiate into DCs. We show that PKCβII also downregulated constitutive expression of NF-κB in KG1a-transfected cells and restores the upregulation of RelB during differentiation by increased transcriptional initiation and elongation. The two mechanisms are independent and sensitive to PKC signaling levels. Conversely, RelB upregulation was inhibited in primary human monocytes where PKCβII expression was knocked down by small interfering RNA targeting. Altogether, the data show that RelB expression during DC differentiation is controlled by PKCβII-mediated regulation of transcriptional initiation and elongation.
PMCID: PMC1190284  PMID: 16107733
Experimental cell research  2009;315(8):1415-1428.
Alterations in PKC isozyme expression and aberrant induction of cyclin D1 are early events in intestinal tumorigenesis. Previous studies have identified cyclin D1 as a major target in the antiproliferative effects of PKCα in non-transformed intestinal cells; however, a link between PKC signaling and cyclin D1 in colon cancer remained to be established. The current study further characterized PKC isozyme expression in intestinal neoplasms and explored the consequences of restoring PKCα or PKCδ in a panel of colon carcinoma cell lines. Consistent with patterns of PKC expression in primary tumors, PKCα and δ levels were generally reduced in colon carcinoma cell lines, PKCβII was elevated and PKCε showed variable expression, thus establishing the suitability of these models for analysis of PKC signaling. While colon cancer cells were insensitive to the effects of PKC agonists on cyclin D1 levels, restoration of PKCα downregulated cyclin D1 by two independent mechanisms. PKCα expression consistently (a) reduced steady-state levels of cyclin D1 by a novel transcriptional mechanism not previously seen in non-transformed cells, and (b) re-established the ability of PKC agonists to activate the translational repressor 4E-BP1 and inhibit cyclin D1 translation. In contrast, PKCδ had modest and variable effects on cyclin D1 steady state levels and failed to restore responsiveness to PKC agonists. Notably, PKCα expression blocked anchorage-independent growth in colon cancer cells via a mechanism partially dependent on cyclin D1 deficiency, while PKCδ had only minor effects. Loss of PKCα and effects of its re-expression were independent of the status of the APC/β-catenin signaling pathway or known genetic alterations, indicating that they are a general characteristic of colon tumors. Thus, PKCα is a potent negative regulator of cyclin D1 expression and anchorage-independent cell growth in colon tumor cells, findings that offer important perspectives on the frequent loss of this isozyme during intestinal carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2721478  PMID: 19232344
Protein Kinase C; Cyclin D1; Transcriptional Control; Colon Cancer; 4E-BP1; β-Catenin; Mouse Models

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