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1.  Nociceptive-induced Myocardial Remote Conditioning Is Mediated By Neuronal Gamma Protein Kinase C 
Basic research in cardiology  2013;108(5):10.1007/s00395-013-0381-x.
Deciphering the remote conditioning molecular mechanism may provide targets to develop therapeutics that can broaden the clinical application. To further investigate this, we tested whether two protein kinase C isozymes, the ubiquitously expressed epsilon PKC (εPKC) and the neuronal specific gamma PKC (γPKC), mediate nociceptive-induced remote myocardial conditioning.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used for both in vivo and ex vivo myocardial ischemia-reperfusion protocols. For the in vivo studies, using a surgical abdominal incision for comparison, applying only to the abdomen either bradykinin or the εPKC activator (ψεRACK) reduced myocardial infarct size (45±1%, 44±2%, respectively, versus incision: 43±2%, and control: 63±2%, P < 0.001). Western blot showed only εPKC, and not γPKC, is highly expressed in the myocardium. However, applying a selective γPKC inhibitor (γV5-3) to the abdominal skin blocked remote protection by any of these strategies.
Using an ex vivo isolated heart model without an intact nervous system, only selective εPKC activation, unlike a selective classical PKC isozyme activator (activating α, β, βII and γ), reduced myocardial injury. Importantly, the classical PKC isozyme activator given to the abdomen in vivo (with an intact nervous system including γPKC) during myocardial ischemia reduced infarct size as effectively as an abdominal incision or ψεRACK (45±1% versus 45±2% and 47±1%, respectively). The classical PKC activator-induced protection was also blocked by spinal cord surgical transection.
These findings identified potential remote conditioning mimetics, with these strategies effective even during myocardial ischemia. A novel mechanism of nociceptive-induced remote conditioning, involving γPKC, was also identified.
PMCID: PMC3856950  PMID: 23982492
infarct size; remote; incision; protein kinase C; gamma; epsilon
2.  Ischaemic preconditioning improves proteasomal activity and increases the degradation of δPKC during reperfusion 
Cardiovascular Research  2009;85(2):385-394.
The response of the myocardium to an ischaemic insult is regulated by two highly homologous protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes, δ and εPKC. Here, we determined the spatial and temporal relationships between these two isozymes in the context of ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) and ischaemic preconditioning (IPC) to better understand their roles in cardioprotection.
Methods and results
Using an ex vivo rat model of myocardial infarction, we found that short bouts of ischaemia and reperfusion prior to the prolonged ischaemic event (IPC) diminished δPKC translocation by 3.8-fold and increased εPKC accumulation at mitochondria by 16-fold during reperfusion. In addition, total cellular levels of δPKC decreased by 60 ± 2.7% in response to IPC, whereas the levels of εPKC did not significantly change. Prolonged ischaemia induced a 48 ± 11% decline in the ATP-dependent proteasomal activity and increased the accumulation of misfolded proteins during reperfusion by 192 ± 32%; both of these events were completely prevented by IPC. Pharmacological inhibition of the proteasome or selective inhibition of εPKC during IPC restored δPKC levels at the mitochondria while decreasing εPKC levels, resulting in a loss of IPC-induced protection from I/R. Importantly, increased myocardial injury was the result, in part, of restoring a δPKC-mediated I/R pro-apoptotic phenotype by decreasing pro-survival signalling and increasing cytochrome c release into the cytosol.
Taken together, our findings indicate that IPC prevents I/R injury at reperfusion by protecting ATP-dependent 26S proteasomal function. This decreases the accumulation of the pro-apoptotic kinase, δPKC, at cardiac mitochondria, resulting in the accumulation of the pro-survival kinase, εPKC.
PMCID: PMC2797452  PMID: 19820255
Cardioprotection; Ischaemia/reperfusion; Apoptosis; Proteasome; PKC; Ischaemic preconditioning
3.  Protein kinase C signaling and cell cycle regulation 
A link between T cell proliferation and the protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine kinases has been recognized for about 30 years. However, despite the wealth of information on PKC-mediated control of, T cell activation, understanding of the effects of PKCs on the cell cycle machinery in this cell type remains limited. Studies in other systems have revealed important cell cycle-specific effects of PKC signaling that can either positively or negatively impact proliferation. The outcome of PKC activation is highly context-dependent, with the precise cell cycle target(s) and overall effects determined by the specific isozyme involved, the timing of PKC activation, the cell type, and the signaling environment. Although PKCs can regulate all stages of the cell cycle, they appear to predominantly affect G0/G1 and G2. PKCs can modulate multiple cell cycle regulatory molecules, including cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinases (cdks), cdk inhibitors and cdc25 phosphatases; however, evidence points to Cip/Kip cdk inhibitors and D-type cyclins as key mediators of PKC-regulated cell cycle-specific effects. Several PKC isozymes can target Cip/Kip proteins to control G0/G1 → S and/or G2 → M transit, while effects on D-type cyclins regulate entry into and progression through G1. Analysis of PKC signaling in T cells has largely focused on its roles in T cell activation; thus, observed cell cycle effects are mainly positive. A prominent role is emerging for PKCθ, with non-redundant functions of other isozymes also described. Additional evidence points to PKCδ as a negative regulator of the cell cycle in these cells. As in other cell types, context-dependent effects of individual isozymes have been noted in T cells, and Cip/Kip cdk inhibitors and D-type cyclins appear to be major PKC targets. Future studies are anticipated to take advantage of the similarities between these various systems to enhance understanding of PKC-mediated cell cycle regulation in T cells.
PMCID: PMC3547298  PMID: 23335926
protein kinase C; signal transduction; T cell activation; cell cycle; cyclin; cyclin-dependent kinase; cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor
4.  δPKC inhibition or εPKC activation repairs endothelial vascular dysfunction by regulating eNOS post-translational modification 
The balance between endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-derived nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production determines endothelial-mediated vascular homeostasis. Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) has been linked to imbalance of the eNOS/ROS system, which leads to endothelial dysfunction. We previously found that selective inhibition of delta PKC (δPKC) or selective activation of epsilon PKC (εPKC) reduces oxidative damage in the heart following myocardial infarction. In this study we determined the effect of these PKC isozymes in the survival of coronary endothelial cells (CVEC). We demonstrate here that serum deprivation of CVEC increased eNOS-mediated ROS levels, activated caspase-3, reduced Akt phosphorylation and cell number. Treatment with either the δPKC inhibitor, δV1-1, or the εPKC activator, ψεRACK, inhibited these effects, restoring cell survival through inhibition of eNOS activity. The decrease in eNOS activity coincided with specific de-phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser1179, and eNOS phosphorylation at Thr497 and Ser116. Furthermore, δV1-1 or ψεRACK induced physical association of eNOS with caveolin-1, an additional marker of eNOS inhibition, and restored Akt activation by inhibiting its nitration. Together our data demonstrate that 1) in endothelial dysfunction, ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) formation result from uncontrolled eNOS activity mediated by activation of δPKC or inhibition of εPKC 2) inhibition of δPKC or activation of εePKC correct the perturbed phosphorylation state of eNOS, thus increasing cell survival. Since endothelial health ensures better tissue perfusion and oxygenation, treatment with a δPKC inhibitor and/or an εPKC activator in diseases of endothelial dysfunction should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3760592  PMID: 19913548
5.  Lambda-interacting protein, a novel protein that specifically interacts with the zinc finger domain of the atypical protein kinase C isotype lambda/iota and stimulates its kinase activity in vitro and in vivo. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(1):105-114.
The members of the atypical subfamily of protein kinase C (PKC) show dramatic structural and functional differences from other PKC isotypes. Thus, in contrast to the classical or novel PKCs, they are not activated by diacylglycerol or phorbol esters. However, the atypical PKCs are the target of important lipid second messengers such as ceramide, phosphatidic acid, and 3'-phosphoinositides. The catalytic and pseudosubstrate sequences in the two atypical PKCs (lambda/iota PKC and zeta PKC) are identical but are significantly different from those of conventional or novel PKCs. It has been shown that microinjection of a peptide with the sequence of the pseudosubstrate of the atypical PKC isotypes but not of alpha PKC or epsilon PKC dramatically inhibited maturation and NF-kappa B activation in Xenopus oocytes, as well as reinitiation of DNA synthesis in quiescent mouse fibroblasts. This indicates that either or both atypical isoforms are important in cell signalling. Besides the pseudosubstrate, the major differences in the sequence between lambda/iota PKC and zeta PKC are located in the regulatory domain. Therefore, any functional divergence between the two types of atypical PKCs will presumably reside in that region. We report here the molecular characterization of lambda-interacting protein (LIP), a novel protein that specifically interacts with the zinc finger of lambda/iota PKC but not zeta PKC. We show in this paper that this interaction is detected not only in vitro but also in vivo, that LIP activates lambda/iota PKC but not zeta PKC in vitro and in vivo, and that this interaction is functionally relevant. Thus, expression of LIP leads to the transactivation of a kappa B-dependent promoter in a manner that is dependent on lambda/iota PKC. To our knowledge, this is the first report on the cloning and characterization of a protein activator of a PKC that binds to the zinc finger domain, which has so far been considered a site for binding of lipid modulators. The fact that LIP binds to lambda/iota PKC but not to the highly related zeta PKC isoform suggests that the specificity of the activation of the members of the different PKC subfamilies will most probably be accounted for by proteins like LIP rather than by lipid activators.
PMCID: PMC230983  PMID: 8524286
6.  Dopamine-induced Exocytosis of Na,K-ATPase Is Dependent on Activation of Protein Kinase C-ε and -δ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2002;13(4):1381-1389.
The purpose of this study was to define mechanisms by which dopamine (DA) regulates the Na,K-ATPase in alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) cells. The Na,K-ATPase activity increased by twofold in cells incubated with either 1 μM DA or a dopaminergic D1 agonist, fenoldopam, but not with the dopaminergic D2 agonist quinpirole. The increase in activity paralleled an increase in Na,K-ATPase α1 and β1 protein abundance in the basolateral membrane (BLM) of AT2 cells. This increase in protein abundance was mediated by the exocytosis of Na,K-pumps from late endosomal compartments into the BLM. Down-regulation of diacylglycerol-sensitive types of protein kinase C (PKC) by pretreatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate or inhibition with bisindolylmaleimide prevented the DA-mediated increase in Na,K-ATPase activity and exocytosis of Na,K-pumps to the BLM. Preincubation of AT2 cells with either 2-[1-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-5-methoxyindol-3-yl]-3-(1H-indol-3-yl)maleimide (Gö6983), a selective inhibitor of PKC-δ, or isozyme-specific inhibitor peptides for PKC-δ or PKC-ε inhibited the DA-mediated increase in Na,K-ATPase. PKC-δ and PKC-ε, but not PKC-α or -β, translocated from the cytosol to the membrane fraction after exposure to DA. PKC-δ– and PKC-ε–specific peptide agonists increased Na,K-ATPase protein abundance in the BLM. Accordingly, dopamine increased Na,K-ATPase activity in alveolar epithelial cells through the exocytosis of Na,K-pumps from late endosomes into the basolateral membrane in a mechanism-dependent activation of the novel protein kinase C isozymes PKC-δ and PKC-ε.
PMCID: PMC102276  PMID: 11950946
7.  Effects of the selective bisindolylmaleimide protein kinase C inhibitor GF 109203X on P-glycoprotein-mediated multidrug resistance. 
British Journal of Cancer  1996;74(6):897-905.
Inhibition of protein kinase C (PKC) is discussed as a new approach for overcoming multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer chemotherapy. For evaluation of this concept we applied the bisindolylmaleimide GF 109203X, which shows a highly selective inhibition of PKC isozymes alpha, beta 1, beta 2, gamma, delta and epsilon in vitro. The efficacy of this compound in modulation of MDR was examined using several P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-overexpressing cell lines including a MDR1-transfected HeLa clone, and was compared with the activities of dexniguldipine-HCI (DNIG) and dexverapamil-HC1 (DVER), both of which essentially act via binding to P-gp. As PKC alpha has been suggested to play a major role in P-gp-mediated MDR, cell lines exhibiting different expression levels of this PKC isozyme were chosen. On crude PKC preparations or in a cellular assay using a cfos(-711)CAT-transfected NIH 3T3 clone, the inhibitory qualities of the bisindolylmaleimide at submicromolar concentrations were demonstrated. At up 1 microM final concentrations of the PKC inhibitor GF 109203X, a concentration at which many PKC isozymes should be blocked substantially, no cytotoxic or MDR-reversing effects whatsoever were seen, as monitored by 72 h tetrazolium-based colorimetric MTT assays or a 90 min rhodamine 123 accumulation assay. Moreover, depletion of PKC alpha by phorbol ester in HeLa-MDR1 transfectants had no influence on rhodamine 123 accumulation after 24 or 48 h. MDR reversal activity of GF 109203X was seen at higher final drug concentrations, however. Remarkably, [3H]vinblastine-sulphate binding competition experiments using P-gp-containing crude membrane preparations demonstrated similar dose dependencies as found for MDR reversion by the three modulators, i.e. decreasing efficacy in the series dexniguldipine-HCl > dexverapamil-HCl > GF 109203X. Similar interaction with the P-gp in the micromolar concentration range was revealed by competition of GF 109203X with photoincorporation of [3H]azidopine into P-gp-containing crude membrane preparations. No significant effect of the PKC inhibitor on MDR1 expression was seen, which was examined by cDNA-PCR. Thus, the bisindolylmaleimide GF 109203X probably influences MDR mostly via direct binding to P-gp. Our work identifies the bisindolylmaleimide GF 109203X as a new type of drug interacting with P-gp directly, but does not support the concept of a major contribution of PKC to a P-gp-associated MDR, at least using the particular cellular model systems and the selective, albeit general, PKC inhibitor GF 109203X.
PMCID: PMC2074754  PMID: 8826855
8.  Rational Design of A Selective Antagonist of ε Protein Kinase C Derived From the Selective Allosteric Agonist, Pseudo-Rack Peptide 
We have previously shown that domains involved in binding of protein kinase C (PKC1) isozymes to their respective anchoring proteins (RACKs2) and short peptides derived from these domains are PKC isozyme-selective antagonists. We also identified PKC isozyme-selective agonists, named ψRACK3 peptides, derived from a sequence within each PKC with high homology to its respective RACK. We noted that all the ψRACK sequences within each PKC isozyme have at least one non-homologous amino acid difference from their corresponding RACK that constitutes a charge change. Based on this information, we have devised here a new approach to design an isozyme-selective PKC antagonist, derived from the ψRACK sequence. We focused on εPKC ψRACK peptide, where the pseudo-εRACK sequence (ψεRACK; HDAPIGYD; corresponding to εPKC85-92) is different in charge from the homologous RACK-derived sequence (NNVALGYD; corresponding to εRACK285-292) in the second amino acid. Here we show that changing the charge of the ψεRACK peptide through a substitution of only one amino acid (aspartate to asparagine) resulted in a peptide with an opposite activity on the same cell function and a substitution for aspartate with an alanine resulted in an inactive peptide. These data support our hypothesis regarding the mechanism by which pseudo-RACK peptide activates PKC in heart cells and suggest that this approach is applicable to other signaling proteins with inducible protein-protein interactions.
PMCID: PMC1978508  PMID: 17337000
PKC (protein kinase C); RACK (receptor for activated C-kinase); ψRACK (pseudo RACK); intramolecular interaction; carrier peptide
9.  Molecular Analysis Reveals Localization of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Protein Kinase C to Sites of Polarized Growth and Pkc1p Targeting to the Nucleus and Mitotic Spindle 
Eukaryotic Cell  2005;4(1):36-45.
The catalytic activity and intracellular localization of protein kinase C (PKC) are both highly regulated in vivo. This family of kinases contains conserved regulatory motifs, i.e., the C1, C2, and HR1 domains, which target PKC isoforms to specific subcellular compartments and restrict their activity spatially. Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains a single PKC isozyme, Pkc1p, which contains all of the regulatory motifs found in mammalian PKCs. Pkc1p localizes to sites of polarized growth, consistent with its main function in maintaining cell integrity. We dissected the molecular basis of Pkc1p localization by expressing each of its domains individually and in combinations as green fluorescent protein fusions. We find that the Rho1p-binding domains, HR1 and C1, are responsible for targeting Pkc1p to the bud tip and cell periphery, respectively. We demonstrate that Pkc1p activity is required for its normal localization to the bud neck, which also depends on the integrity of the septin ring. In addition, we show for the first time that yeast protein kinase C can accumulate in the nucleus, and we identify a nuclear exit signal as well as nuclear localization signals within the Pkc1p sequence. Thus, we propose that Pkc1p shuttles in and out of the nucleus and consequently has access to nuclear substrates. Surprisingly, we find that deletion of the HR1 domain results in Pkc1p localization to the mitotic spindle and that the C2 domain is responsible for this targeting. This novel nuclear and spindle localization of Pkc1p may provide a molecular explanation for previous observations that suggest a role for Pkc1p in regulating microtubule function.
PMCID: PMC544167  PMID: 15643058
10.  Protein kinase C isozyme specific potentiation of expressed Cav 2.3 currents by acetyl-β-methylcholine and phorbol-12-myristate, 13-acetate 
Brain research  2008;1210:1-10.
Protein kinase C (PKC) is implicated in the potentiation of Cav 2.3 currents by acetyl-β-methylcholine (MCh), a muscarinic M1 receptor agonist or phorbol-12-myristate, 13-acetate (PMA). The PKC isozymes responsible for the action of MCh and PMA were investigated using translocation as a measure of activation and with isozyme-selective antagonists and siRNA. Cav channels were expressed with α1 2.3, β1b and α2δ subunits and muscarinic M1 receptors in the Xenopus oocytes and the expressed currents (IBa) were studied using Ba2+ as the charge carrier. Translocation of PKC isozymes to the membrane studied by Western blot revealed that all eleven known PKC isozymes are present in the Xenopus oocytes. Exposure of the oocytes to MCh led to the translocation of PKC α whereas PMA activated PKC βII and ε isozymes. The action of MCh was inhibited by Go 6976, an inhibitor of cPKC isozymes or PKC α siRNA. PMA-induced potentiation of Cav 2.3 currents was inhibited by CG533 53, a PKC βII antagonist, βIIV5.3, a peptide translocation inhibitor of PKC βII or PKC βII siRNA. Similarly, εV1.2, a peptide translocation inhibitor of PKC ε or PKC ε siRNA inhibited PMA action. The inhibitors of PKC increased the basal IBa slightly. It is possible that some PKC isozymes have negative control over the IBa. Our results implicate PKC α in the potentiation of Cav 2.3 currents by MCh and PKC βII and ε in the potentiation of Cav 2.3 currents by PMA.
PMCID: PMC2600963  PMID: 18420182
Section: 3. Neurophysiology, Neruopharmacology and other forms of Interceullular communication; PKC; Voltage-gated Calcium channels; Xenopus oocytes; Phosphorylation; Muscarinic receptors; Phrobol ester; MCh
11.  Parallel modulation of receptor for activated C kinase 1 and protein kinase C-α and β isoforms in brains of morphine-treated rats 
British Journal of Pharmacology  1999;127(2):343-348.
Receptor for activated C kinase 1 (RACK1) is an intracellular receptor for protein kinase C (PKC) that regulates the cellular enzyme localization. Because opiate drugs modulate the levels of brain PKC (Ventayol et al., 1997), the aim of this study was to assess in parallel the effects of morphine on RACK1 and PKC-α and β isozymes densities in rat brain frontal cortex by immunoblot assays.Acute morphine (30 mg kg−1, i.p., 2 h) induced significant increases in the densities of RACK1 (33%), PKC-α (35%) and PKC-β (23%). In contrast, chronic morphine (10–100 mg kg−1, i.p., 5 days) induced a decrease in RACK1 levels (22%), paralleled by decreases in the levels of PKC-α (16%) and PKC-β (16%).Spontaneous (48 h) and naloxone (2 mg kg−1, i.p., 2 h)-precipitated morphine withdrawal after chronic morphine induced marked up-regulations in the levels of RACK1 (38–41%), PKC-α (51–52%) and PKC-β (48–62%).In the same brains and for all combined treatments, there were significant positive correlations between the density of RACK1 and those of PKC-α (r=0.85, n=35) and PKC-β (r=0.75, n=32).These data indicate that RACK1 is involved in the short- and long-term effects of morphine and in opiate withdrawal, and that RACK1 modulation by morphine or its withdrawal is parallel to those of PKC-α and β isozymes. Since RACK1 facilitates the PKC substrate accessibility, driving its cellular localization, the coordinate regulation of the PKC/RACK system by morphine could be a relevant molecular mechanism in opiate addiction.
PMCID: PMC1566027  PMID: 10385232
Morphine; opiate addiction; opioid receptors; protein kinase C; receptor for activated C kinase 1; rat brain; cytoskeleton
12.  Direct interaction between protein kinase C theta (PKC theta) and 14-3-3 tau in T cells: 14-3-3 overexpression results in inhibition of PKC theta translocation and function. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(10):5782-5791.
Recent studies have documented direct interactions between 14-3-3 proteins and several oncogene and proto-oncogene products involved in signal transduction pathways. Studies on the effects of 14-3-3 proteins on protein kinase C (PKC) activity in vitro have reported conflicting results, and previous attempts to demonstrate a direct association between PKC and 14-3-3 were unsuccessful. Here, we examined potential physical and functional interactions between PKC theta, a Ca(2+)-independent PKC enzyme which is expressed selectively in T lymphocytes, and the 14-3-3 tau isoform in vitro and in intact T cells. PKC theta and 14-3-3 tau coimmunoprecipitated from Jurkat T cells, and recombinant 14-3-3 tau interacted directly with purified PKC theta in vitro. Transient overexpression of 14-3-3 tau suppressed stimulation of the interleukin 2 (IL-2) promoter mediated by cotransfected wild-type or constitutively active PKC theta, as well as by endogenous PKC in ionomycin- and/or phorbol ester-stimulated cells. This did not represent a general inhibition of activation events, since PKC-independent (but Ca(2+)-dependent) activation of an IL-4 promoter element was not inhibited by 14-3-3 tau under similar conditions. Overexpression of wild-type 14-3-3 tau also inhibited phorbol ester-induced PKC theta translocation from the cytosol to the membrane in Jurkat cells, while a membrane-targeted form of 14-3-3 tau caused increased localization of PKC theta in the particulate fraction in unstimulated cells. Membrane-targeted 14-3-3 tau was more effective than wild-type 14-3-3 tau in suppressing PKC theta-dependent IL-2 promoter activity, suggesting that 14-3-3 tau inhibits the function of PKC theta not only by preventing its translocation to the membrane but also by associating with it. The interaction between 14-3-3 and PKC theta may represent an important general mechanism for regulating PKC-dependent signals and, more specifically, PKC theta-mediated functions during T-cell activation.
PMCID: PMC231579  PMID: 8816492
13.  Rational design and validation of an anti-protein kinase C active-state specific antibody based on conformational changes 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:22114.
Protein kinase C (PKC) plays a regulatory role in key pathways in cancer. However, since phosphorylation is a step for classical PKC (cPKC) maturation and does not correlate with activation, there is a lack of tools to detect active PKC in tissue samples. Here, a structure-based rational approach was used to select a peptide to generate an antibody that distinguishes active from inactive cPKC. A peptide conserved in all cPKCs, C2Cat, was chosen since modeling studies based on a crystal structure of PKCβ showed that it is localized at the interface between the C2 and catalytic domains of cPKCs in an inactive kinase. Anti-C2Cat recognizes active cPKCs at least two-fold better than inactive kinase in ELISA and immunoprecipitation assays, and detects the temporal dynamics of cPKC activation upon receptor or phorbol stimulation. Furthermore, the antibody is able to detect active PKC in human tissue. Higher levels of active cPKC were observed in the more aggressive triple negative breast cancer tumors as compared to the less aggressive estrogen receptor positive tumors. Thus, this antibody represents a reliable, hitherto unavailable and a valuable tool to study PKC activation in cells and tissues. Similar structure-based rational design strategies can be broadly applied to obtain active-state specific antibodies for other signal transduction molecules.
PMCID: PMC4766434  PMID: 26911897
14.  Activation of protein kinase C isozymes is associated with post-mitotic events in intestinal epithelial cells in situ 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;126(3):747-763.
The mechanisms underlying control of cell growth and differentiation in epithelial tissues are poorly understood. Protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes, members of a large family of serine/threonine kinases of fundamental importance in signal transduction, have been increasingly implicated in the regulation of cell growth, differentiation, and function. Using the rat intestinal epithelium as a model system, we have examined PKC-specific activity as well as individual PKC isozyme expression and distribution (i.e., activation status) in epithelial cells in situ. Increased PKC activity was detected in differentiating and functional cells relative to immature proliferating crypt cells. Immunofluorescence and Western blot analysis using a panel of isozyme- specific antibodies revealed that PKC alpha, beta II, delta, epsilon, and zeta are expressed in rat intestinal epithelial cells and exhibit distinct subcellular distribution patterns along the crypt-villus unit. The combined morphological and biochemical approach used permitted analysis of the activation status of specific PKC isozymes at the individual cell level. These studies showed that marked changes in membrane association and level of expression for PKC alpha, beta II, delta, and zeta occur as cells cease division in the mid-crypt region and begin differentiation. Additional changes in PKC activation status are observed with acquisition of mature function on the villus. These studies clearly demonstrate naturally occurring alterations in PKC isozyme activation status at the individual cell level within the context of a developing tissue. Direct activation of PKC in an immature intestinal crypt cell line was shown to result in growth inhibition and coincident translocation of PKC alpha from the cytosolic to the particulate subcellular fraction, paralleling observations made in situ and providing further support for a role of intestinal PKC isozymes in post-mitotic events. PKC isozymes were also found to be tightly associated with cytoskeletal elements, suggesting participation in control of the structural organization of the enterocyte. Taken together, the results presented strongly suggest an involvement of PKC isoforms in cellular processes related to growth cessation, differentiation, and function of intestinal epithelial cells in situ.
PMCID: PMC2120146  PMID: 8045938
15.  Immunomodulatory effects of therapeutic gold compounds. Gold sodium thiomalate inhibits the activity of T cell protein kinase C. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1992;89(6):1839-1848.
Previous studies have shown that the gold compounds, gold sodium thiomalate (GST) and auranofin (AUR), which are effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, inhibit functional activities of a variety of cells, but the biochemical basis of their effect is unknown. In the current studies, human T cell proliferation and interleukin 2 production by Jurkat cells were inhibited by GST or AUR at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. Because it has been documented that protein kinase C (PKC) is involved in T cell activation, the capacity of gold compounds to inhibit PKC partially purified from Jurkat cells was assayed in vitro. GST was found to inhibit PKC in a dose-dependent manner, but AUR caused no significant inhibition of PKC at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. The inhibitory effect of GST on PKC was abolished by 2-mercaptoethanol. To investigate the effect of GST on the regulation of PKC in vivo, the levels of PKC activity in Jurkat cells were examined. Cytosolic PKC activity decreased slowly in a concentration- and time-dependent manner as a result of incubation of Jurkat cells with GST. To ascertain whether GST inhibited PKC translocation and down-regulation, PKC activities associated with the membrane and cystosolic fractions were evaluated after phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) stimulation of GST incubated Jurkat cells. Translocation of PKC was markedly inhibited by pretreatment of Jurkat cells with GST for 3 d, but the capacity of PMA to down-regulate PKC activity in Jurkat cells was not altered by GST preincubation. The functional impact of GST-mediated downregulation of PKC in Jurkat cells was examined by analyzing PMA-stimulated phosphorylation of CD3. Although GST preincubated Jurkat cells exhibited an increased density of CD3, PMA-stimulated phosphorylation of the gamma chain of CD3 was markedly inhibited. Specificity for the inhibitory effect of GST on PKC was suggested by the finding that GST did not alter the mitogen-induced increases in inositol trisphosphate levels in Jurkat cells. Finally, the mechanism of the GST-induced inhibition of PKC was examined in detail, using purified PKC subspecies from rat brain. GST inhibited type II PKC more effectively than type III PKC, and also inhibited the enzymatic activity of the isolated catalytic fragment of PKC. The inhibitory effect of GST on PKC activity could not be explained by competition with phospholipid or nonspecific interference with the substrate. These data suggest that the immunomodulatory effects of GST may result from its capacity to inhibit PKC activity.
PMCID: PMC295882  PMID: 1351061
16.  Effect of Protein Kinase C delta (PKC-δ) Inhibition on the Transcriptome of Normal and Systemic Sclerosis Human Dermal Fibroblasts In Vitro 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27110.
Previous studies demonstrated that protein kinase C- δ (PKC-δ) inhibition with the selective inhibitor, rottlerin, resulted in potent downregulation of type I collagen expression and production in normal human dermal fibroblasts and abrogated the exaggerated type I collagen production and expression in fibroblasts cultured from affected skin from patients with the fibrosing disorder systemic sclerosis (SSc). To elucidate the mechanisms involved in the ability of PKC-δ to regulate collagen production in fibroblasts, we examined the effects of PKC-δ inhibition on the transcriptome of normal and SSc human dermal fibroblasts. Normal and SSc human dermal fibroblasts were incubated with rottlerin (5 µM), and their gene expression was analyzed by microarrays. Pathway analysis and gene ontology analysis of differentially expressed genes in each comparison were performed. Identification of significantly overrepresented transcriptional regulatory elements (TREs) was performed using the Promoter Analysis and Interaction Network Toolset (PAINT) program. PKC-δ activity was also inhibited using RNA interference (siRNA) and by treating fibroblasts with a specific PKC-δ inhibitory cell permeable peptide. Differential gene expression of 20 genes was confirmed using real time PCR. PKC-δ inhibition caused a profound change in the transcriptome of normal and SSc human dermal fibroblasts in vitro. Pathway and gene ontology analysis identified multiple cellular and organismal pathways affected by PKC-δ inhibition. Furthermore, both pathway and PAINT analyses indicated that the transcription factor NFκB played an important role in the transcriptome changes induced by PKC-δ inhibition. Multiple genes involved in the degradation of the extracellular matrix components were significantly reduced in SSc fibroblasts and their expression was increased by PKC-δ inhibition. These results indicate that isoform-specific inhibition of PKC-δ profibrotic effects may represent a novel therapeutic approach for SSc and other fibrotic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3214051  PMID: 22096525
17.  Protein Kinase C Pharmacology: Refining the Toolbox 
The Biochemical journal  2013;452(2):195-209.
Protein kinase C (PKC) has been in the limelight since the discovery three decades ago that it acts as a major receptor for the tumor-promoting phorbol esters. Phorbol esters, with their potent ability to activate two of the three classes of PKC isozymes, have remained the best pharmacological tool for directly modulating PKC activity. However, with the discovery of other phorbol ester-responsive proteins, the advent of various small-molecule and peptide modulators, and the need to distinguish isozyme-specific activity, the pharmacology of PKC has become increasingly complex. Not surprisingly, many of the compounds originally touted as direct modulators of PKC have subsequently been shown to hit many other cellular targets and, in some cases, not even directly modulate PKC. The complexities and reversals in PKC pharmacology have led to widespread confusion about the current status of the pharmacological tools available to control PKC activity. Here, we aim to clarify the cacophony in the literature regarding the current state of bona fide and discredited cellular PKC modulators, including activators, small-molecule inhibitors, and peptides, and also address the use of genetically-encoded reporters and of PKC mutants to measure the effects of these drugs on the spatiotemporal dynamics of signaling by specific isozymes.
PMCID: PMC4079666  PMID: 23662807
18.  Contribution of Protein Kinase Cα in the Stimulation of Insulin by the Down Regulation of Cavβ subunits 
Endocrine  2014;47(2):463-471.
Voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels and protein kinase C (PKC) isozymes are involved in insulin secretion. In addition, Cavβ, one of the auxiliary subunits of Cav channels, also regulate the secretion of insulin as knockout of Cavβ3 (β3−/−) subunits in mice led to efficient glucose homeostasis and increased insulin levels. We examined if other types of Cavβ subunits also have similar properties. In this regard, we used small interfering RNA (siRNA) of these subunits (20 μg each) to down regulate them and examined blood glucose, serum insulin and PKC translocation in isolated pancreatic β cells of mice. While the down regulation of Cavβ2 and β3 subunits increased serum insulin levels and caused efficient glucose homeostasis, the down regulation of Cavβ1 and β4 subunits failed to affect both these parameters. Examination of PKC isozymes in the pancreatic β-cells of Cavβ2 or β3 siRNA injected mice showed that three PKC isozymes, viz., PKCα, βII and θ translocated to the membrane. This suggests that when present, Cavβ2 and β3 subunits inhibited PKC activation. Among these three isozymes, only PKCα siRNA inhibited insulin and increased glucose concentrations. It is possible that the activation of PKCs βII and θ are not sufficient for the release of insulin and PKCα is the mediator of insulin secretion under the control of Cavβ subunits. Since Cavβ subunits are present intracellularly, it is possible that they i) inhibited the translocation of PKC isozymes to the membrane and ii) decreased the interaction between Cav channels and PKC isozymes and thus the secretion of insulin.
PMCID: PMC4176602  PMID: 24452871
Cavβ subunits; PKCα; Insulin; Calcium Channels
19.  Multiple gene expression analysis reveals distinct differences between G2 and G3 stage breast cancers, and correlations of PKC eta with MDR1, MRP and LRP gene expression. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;77(1):87-91.
A possible link between protein kinase C (PKC) and P-glycoprotein (P-gp)-mediated-multidrug resistance (MDR) was assumed from studies on MDR cell lines selected in vitro. The functional relevance of PKC for the MDR phenotype remains unclear, and the involvement of a particular PKC isozyme in clinically occurring drug resistance is not known. Recently, we have demonstrated significant correlations between the expression levels of the PKC eta isozyme and the MDR1 or MRP (multidrug resistance-associated protein) genes in blasts from patients with acute myelogenous leukaemia (AML) and in ascites cell aspirates from ovarian cancer patients. To extend these findings to further types of human tumours we analysed specimens from 64 patients with primary breast cancer for their individual expression levels of several MDR-associated genes (MDR1, MRP, LRP (lung cancer resistance-related protein), topoisomerase (Topo) II alpha/IIbeta, cyclin A and the PKC isozyme genes (alpha, beta1, beta2, eta, theta, and mu) by a cDNA-PCR approach. We found significantly enhanced mean values for MRP, LRP and PKC eta gene expression, but significantly decreased Topo II alpha and cyclin A gene expression levels in G2 tumours compared with G3. Remarkably, significant positive correlations between the MDR1, MRP or LRP gene expression levels and PKC eta were determined: MDR1/PKC eta (rs = +0.6451, P < 0.0001) n = 62; MRP/PKC eta (rs = +0.5454, P < 0.0001) n = 63; LRP/PKC eta (rs = +0.5436, P < 0.0001) n = 62; MRP/LRP (rs = +0.7703, P < 0.0001) and n = 62, MDR1/MRP (rs = +0.5042, P < 0.0001) n = 62. Our findings point to the occurrence of a multifactorial MDR in the clinics and to PKC eta as a possible key regulatory factor for up-regulation of a series of MDR-associated genes in different types of tumours.
PMCID: PMC2151261  PMID: 9459150
20.  Wnt5a Increases Cardiac Gene Expressions of Cultured Human Circulating Progenitor Cells via a PKC Delta Activation 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(6):e5765.
Wnt signaling controls the balance between stem cell proliferation and differentiation and body patterning throughout development. Previous data demonstrated that non-canonical Wnts (Wnt5a, Wnt11) increased cardiac gene expression of circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) and bone marrow-derived stem cells cultured in vitro. Since previous studies suggested a contribution of the protein kinase C (PKC) family to the Wnt5a-induced signalling, we investigated which PKC isoforms are activated by non-canonical Wnt5a in human EPC.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Immunoblot experiments demonstrated that Wnt5a selectively activated the novel PKC isoform, PKC delta, as evidenced by phosphorylation and translocation. In contrast, the classical Ca2+-dependent PKC isoforms, PKC alpha and beta2, and one of the other novel PKC isoforms, PKC epsilon, were not activated by Wnt5a. The PKC delta inhibitor rottlerin significantly blocked co-culture-induced cardiac differentiation in vitro, whereas inhibitors directed against the classical Ca2+-dependent PKC isoforms or a PKC epsilon-inhibitory peptide did not block cardiac differentiation. In accordance, EPC derived from PKC delta heterozygous mice exhibited a significant reduction of Wnt5a-induced cardiac gene expression compared to wild type mice derived EPC.
These data indicate that Wnt5a enhances cardiac gene expressions of EPC via an activation of PKC delta.
PMCID: PMC2686162  PMID: 19492056
21.  Mutation of the Protein Kinase C Site in Borna Disease Virus Phosphoprotein Abrogates Viral Interference with Neuronal Signaling and Restores Normal Synaptic Activity 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(5):e1000425.
Understanding the pathogenesis of infection by neurotropic viruses represents a major challenge and may improve our knowledge of many human neurological diseases for which viruses are thought to play a role. Borna disease virus (BDV) represents an attractive model system to analyze the molecular mechanisms whereby a virus can persist in the central nervous system (CNS) and lead to altered brain function, in the absence of overt cytolysis or inflammation. Recently, we showed that BDV selectively impairs neuronal plasticity through interfering with protein kinase C (PKC)–dependent signaling in neurons. Here, we tested the hypothesis that BDV phosphoprotein (P) may serve as a PKC decoy substrate when expressed in neurons, resulting in an interference with PKC-dependent signaling and impaired neuronal activity. By using a recombinant BDV with mutated PKC phosphorylation site on P, we demonstrate the central role of this protein in BDV pathogenesis. We first showed that the kinetics of dissemination of this recombinant virus was strongly delayed, suggesting that phosphorylation of P by PKC is required for optimal viral spread in neurons. Moreover, neurons infected with this mutant virus exhibited a normal pattern of phosphorylation of the PKC endogenous substrates MARCKS and SNAP-25. Finally, activity-dependent modulation of synaptic activity was restored, as assessed by measuring calcium dynamics in response to depolarization and the electrical properties of neuronal networks grown on microelectrode arrays. Therefore, preventing P phosphorylation by PKC abolishes viral interference with neuronal activity in response to stimulation. Our findings illustrate a novel example of viral interference with a differentiated neuronal function, mainly through competition with the PKC signaling pathway. In addition, we provide the first evidence that a viral protein can specifically interfere with stimulus-induced synaptic plasticity in neurons.
Author Summary
Neurotropic viruses have evolved diverse strategies to persist in their host, with variable consequences for brain function. The investigation of these mechanisms of persistence and associated disease represent a major issue in viral pathogenesis, as it may also improve our understanding of human neurological diseases of unclear etiology for which viruses are thought to play a role. In this study, we have examined the mechanisms whereby the neurotropic Borna disease virus (BDV) can selectively interfere with synaptic plasticity upon infection of neurons. Using genetically engineered recombinant viruses, we show that the phosphorylation of BDV phosphoprotein (P) by the cellular protein kinase C (PKC) is the main determinant for this interference, mainly by competing with the phosphorylation of the natural PKC substrates in neurons. A mutant virus in which the PKC phosphorylation site of P has been destroyed no longer interferes with this signaling pathway. As a result, the calcium dynamics and electrical activity in response to stimulation of neurons infected with this mutant virus are completely corrected and become similar to that of non-infected neurons. Thus, our findings uncover a previously undescribed mechanism whereby a viral protein interferes with neuronal response to stimulation.
PMCID: PMC2673689  PMID: 19424436
22.  The Novel PKCθ from Benchtop to Clinic 
Journal of Immunology Research  2015;2015:348798.
The protein kinases C (PKCs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases involved in regulating multiple essential cellular processes such as survival, proliferation, and differentiation. Of particular interest is the novel, calcium-independent PKCθ which plays a central role in immune responses. PKCθ shares structural similarities with other PKC family members, mainly consisting of an N-terminal regulatory domain and a C-terminal catalytic domain tethered by a hinge region. This isozyme, however, is unique in that it translocates to the immunological synapse between a T cell and an antigen-presenting cell (APC) upon T cell receptor-peptide MHC recognition. Thereafter, PKCθ interacts physically and functionally with downstream effectors to mediate T cell activation and differentiation, subsequently leading to inflammation. PKCθ-specific perturbations have been identified in several diseases, most notably autoimmune disorders, and hence the modulation of its activity presents an attractive therapeutic intervention. To that end, many inhibitors of PKCs and PKCθ have been developed and tested in preclinical and clinical studies. And although selectivity remains a challenge, results are promising for the future development of effective PKCθ inhibitors that would greatly advance the treatment of several T-cell mediated diseases.
PMCID: PMC4452336  PMID: 26090489
23.  Functional Divergence of Platelet Protein Kinase C (PKC) Isoforms in Thrombus Formation on Collagen* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2010;285(30):23410-23419.
Arterial thrombosis, a major cause of myocardial infarction and stroke, is initiated by activation of blood platelets by subendothelial collagen. The protein kinase C (PKC) family centrally regulates platelet activation, and it is becoming clear that the individual PKC isoforms play distinct roles, some of which oppose each other. Here, for the first time, we address all four of the major platelet-expressed PKC isoforms, determining their comparative roles in regulating platelet adhesion to collagen and their subsequent activation under physiological flow conditions. Using mouse gene knock-out and pharmacological approaches in human platelets, we show that collagen-dependent α-granule secretion and thrombus formation are mediated by the conventional PKC isoforms, PKCα and PKCβ, whereas the novel isoform, PKCθ, negatively regulates these events. PKCδ also negatively regulates thrombus formation but not α-granule secretion. In addition, we demonstrate for the first time that individual PKC isoforms differentially regulate platelet calcium signaling and exposure of phosphatidylserine under flow. Although platelet deficient in PKCα or PKCβ showed reduced calcium signaling and phosphatidylserine exposure, these responses were enhanced in the absence of PKCθ. In summary therefore, this direct comparison between individual subtypes of PKC, by standardized methodology under flow conditions, reveals that the four major PKCs expressed in platelets play distinct non-redundant roles, where conventional PKCs promote and novel PKCs inhibit thrombus formation on collagen.
PMCID: PMC2906332  PMID: 20479008
Calcium Imaging; Gene Knockout; Mouse; Platelet; Protein Kinase C (PKC); Thrombosis
24.  Possible involvement of integrin-mediated signalling in oocyte activation: evidence that a cyclic RGD-containing peptide can stimulate protein kinase C and cortical granule exocytosis in mouse oocytes 
Mammalian sperm-oocyte interaction at fertilization involves several combined interactions between integrins on the oocyte and integrin ligands (disintegrins) on the sperm. Recent research has indicated the ability of peptides containing the RGD sequence that characterized several sperm disintegrins, to induce intracellular Ca2+ transients and to initiate parthenogenetic development in amphibian and bovine oocytes. In the present study, we investigate the hypothesis that an integrin-associated signalling may participate in oocyte activation signalling by determining the ability of a cyclic RGD-containing peptide to stimulate the activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and the exocytosis of cortical granules in mouse oocytes.
An In-Vitro-Fertilization assay (IVF) was carried in order to test the condition under which a peptide containing the RGD sequence, cyclo(Arg-Gly-Asp-D-Phe-Val), was able to inhibit sperm fusion with zona-free mouse oocytes at metaphase II stage. PKC activity was determined by means of an assay based on the ability of cell lysates to phosphorylate MARKS peptide, a specific PKC substrate. Loss of cortical granules was evaluated by measuring density in the oocyte cortex of cortical granules stained with LCA-biotin/Texas red-streptavidin. In all the experiments, effects of a control peptide containing a non RGD sequence, cyclo(Arg-Ala-Asp-D-Phe-Val), were evaluated.
The IVF assay revealed that the fusion rate declined significantly when insemination was carried out in the presence of cyclic RGD peptide at concentrations > or = 250 microM (P < 0.05, Student-Newman-Keuls Method). When the peptide was applied to the oocytes at these concentrations, a dose-dependent increase of PKC activity was observed, in association with a loss of cortical granules ranging from 38+/-2.5 % to 52+/-5.4 %. Evaluation of meiotic status revealed that cyclic RGD peptide was ineffective in inducing meiosis resumption under conditions used in the present study.
The presents results provide evidence that a cyclic RGD peptide highly effective in inhibiting sperm-oocyte interaction stimulates in mouse oocytes the activation of PKC and the exocytosis of cortical granules. These data support the view that RGD-binding receptors may function as signalling receptors giving rise integrated signalling not sufficient for a full oocyte activation response. This study may contribute to the understanding of possible negative effects of skipping gamete interaction in IVF techniques.
PMCID: PMC1592494  PMID: 16999867
25.  Dopamine and Ethanol Cause Translocation of εPKC Associated with εRACK: Cross-talk Between PKA and PKC Signaling Pathways 
Molecular pharmacology  2008;73(4):1105-1112.
Previously we found that neural responses to ethanol and the dopamine D2 receptor (D2) agonist NPA involve both epsilon protein kinase C (εPKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). However, little is known about the mechanism underlying ethanol- and D2-mediated activation of εPKC and the relationship to PKA activation. In the present study, we used a new εPKC antibody, 14E6, that selectively recognizes active εPKC when not bound to its anchoring protein εRACK (receptor for activated C-kinase), and PKC isozyme-selective inhibitors and activators, to measure PKC translocation and catalytic activity. We show here that ethanol and NPA activated εPKC and also induced translocation of both εPKC and its anchoring protein, εRACK to a new cytosolic site. The selective εPKC agonist, pseudo-εRACK, activated εPKC but did not cause translocation of the εPKC/εRACK complex to the cytosol. These data suggest a step-wise activation and translocation of εPKC following NPA or ethanol treatment where εPKC first translocates and binds to its RACK and subsequently the εPKC/εRACK complex translocates to a new subcellular site. Direct activation of PKA by Sp-cAMPS, PGE1 or the adenosine A2A receptor is sufficient to cause εPKC translocation to the cytosolic compartment in a process that is dependent on PLC activation and requires PKA activity. These data demonstrate a novel cross-talk mechanism between εPKC and PKA signaling systems. PKA and PKC signaling have been implicated in alcohol rewarding properties in the mesolimbic dopamine system. Cross-talk between PKA and PKC may underlie some of the behaviors associated with alcoholism.
PMCID: PMC2692587  PMID: 18202306

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