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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Real-Time Translocation and Function of PKCβII Isoform in Response to Nociceptive Signaling via the TRPV1 Pain Receptor 
Pharmaceuticals  2011;4(11):1503-1517.
Serine/threonine protein kinase C βII isoform (PKCβII) or the pain receptor transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) have been separately implicated in mediating heat hyperalgesia during inflammation or diabetic neuropathy. However, detailed information on the role of PKC βII in nociceptive signaling mediated by TRPV1 is lacking. This study presents evidence for activation and translocation of the PKC βII isoform as a signaling event in nociception mediated by activation of TRPV1 by capsaicin. We show that capsaicin induces translocation of cytosolic PKCβII isoform fused with enhanced green fluorescence protein (PKCβII-EGFP) in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. We also show capsaicin-induced translocation in Chinese Hamster Ovarian (CHO) cells co-transfected with TRPV1 and PKCβII-EGFP, but not in CHO cells expressing PKCβII-EGFP alone. By contrast, the PKC activator phorbol-12-myristate-13-acetate (PMA) induced translocation of PKCβII-EGFP which was sustained and independent of calcium or TRPV1. In addition PMA-induced sensitization of TRPV1 to capsaicin response in DRG neurons was attenuated by PKCβII blocker CGP 53353. Capsaicin response via TRPV1 in the DRG neurons was confirmed by TRPV1 antagonist AMG 9810. These results suggested a novel and potential signaling link between PKCβII and TRPV1. These cell culture models provide a platform for investigating mechanisms of painful neuropathies mediated by nociceptors expressing the pain sensing gene TRPV1, and its regulation by the PKC isoform PKCβII.
PMCID: PMC4060137
pain; protein kinase C; transient receptor potential vanilloid-1; real-time translocation; dorsal root ganglion neurons; nociceptive signaling
4.  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
5.  Centrosomal PKCβII and pericentrin are critical for human prostate cancer growth and angiogenesis 
Cancer research  2008;68(16):6831-6839.
Angiogenesis is critical in the progression of prostate cancer. However, the interplay between the proliferation kinetics of tumor endothelial cells (angiogenesis) and tumor cells has not been investigated. Also, protein kinase C (PKC) regulates various aspects of tumor cell growth but its role in prostate cancer has not been investigated in detail. Here, we found that the proliferation rates of endothelial and tumor cells oscillate asynchronously during the growth of human prostate cancer xenografts. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that PKCβII was activated during increased angiogenesis and that PKCβII plays a key role in the proliferation of endothelial cells and tumor cells in human prostate cancer; treatment with a PKCβII-selective inhibitor, βIIV5-3, reduced angiogenesis and tumor cell proliferation. We also find a unique effect of PKCβII inhibition on normalizing pericentrin (a protein regulating cytokinesis), especially in endothelial cells as well as in tumor cells. PKCβII inhibition reduced the level and mislocalization of pericentrin and normalized microtubule organization in the tumor endothelial cells. Although pericentrin has been known to be upregulated in epithelial cells of prostate cancers, its level in tumor endothelium has not been studied in detail. We found that pericentrin is upregulated in human tumor endothelium compared with endothelium adjacent to normal glands in tissues from prostate cancer patients. Our results suggest that a PKCβII inhibitor such as βIIV5-3 may be used to reduce prostate cancer growth by targeting both angiogenesis and tumor cell growth.
PMCID: PMC2597632  PMID: 18701509
6.  Hyperglycemia-Induced Protein Kinase C β2 Activation Induces Diastolic Cardiac Dysfunction in Diabetic Rats by Impairing Caveolin-3 Expression and Akt/eNOS Signaling 
Diabetes  2013;62(7):2318-2328.
Protein kinase C (PKC)β2 is preferably overexpressed in the diabetic myocardium, which induces cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and contributes to diabetic cardiomyopathy, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Caveolae are critical in signal transduction of PKC isoforms in cardiomyocytes. Caveolin (Cav)-3, the cardiomyocyte-specific caveolar structural protein isoform, is decreased in the diabetic heart. The current study determined whether PKCβ2 activation affects caveolae and Cav-3 expression. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence analysis revealed that high glucose (HG) increased the association and colocalization of PKCβ2 and Cav-3 in isolated cardiomyocytes. Disruption of caveolae by methyl-β-cyclodextrin or Cav-3 small interfering (si)RNA transfection prevented HG-induced PKCβ2 phosphorylation. Inhibition of PKCβ2 activation by compound CGP53353 or knockdown of PKCβ2 expression via siRNA attenuated the reductions of Cav-3 expression and Akt/endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) phosphorylation in cardiomyocytes exposed to HG. LY333531 treatment (for a duration of 4 weeks) prevented excessive PKCβ2 activation and attenuated cardiac diastolic dysfunction in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes. LY333531 suppressed the decreased expression of myocardial NO, Cav-3, phosphorylated (p)-Akt, and p-eNOS and also mitigated the augmentation of O2−, nitrotyrosine, Cav-1, and iNOS expression. In conclusion, hyperglycemia-induced PKCβ2 activation requires caveolae and is associated with reduced Cav-3 expression in the diabetic heart. Prevention of excessive PKCβ2 activation attenuated cardiac diastolic dysfunction by restoring Cav-3 expression and subsequently rescuing Akt/eNOS/NO signaling.
PMCID: PMC3712061  PMID: 23474486
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Priming of Eosinophil by Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor is Mediated by Protein Kinase C βII Phosphorylated L-Plastin1 
The priming of eosinophils by cytokines leading to augmented response to chemoattractants and degranulating stimuli is a characteristic feature of eosinophils in the course of allergic inflammation and asthma. Actin reorganization and integrin activation are implicated in eosinophil priming by GM-CSF but their molecular mechanism of action is unknown. In this regard, we investigated the role of L-plastin, an eosinophil phosphoprotein which we identified from eosinophil proteome analysis. Phosphoproteomic analysis demonstrated the upregulation of phosphorylated L-plastin after eosinophil stimulation with GM-CSF. In addition, co-immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated a complex formation of phosphorylated L-plastin with Protein Kinase C βII (PKCβII), GM-CSF receptor α chain, and two actin associated proteins, paxilin and cofilin. Inhibition of PKCβII with 4,5-bis (4-fluoroanilino)phtalimide or PKCβII specific siRNA blocked GM-CSF induced phosphorylation of L-plastin. Furthermore, flow cytometric analysis also showed an upregulation of αMβ2 integrin which was sensitive to PKCβII inhibition. In chemotaxis assay, GM-CSF treatment allowed eosinophils to respond to lower concentrations of eotaxin which was abrogated by the above mentioned PKCβII inhibitors. Similarly, inhibition of PKCβII blocked GM-CSF induced priming for degranulation as assessed by release of ECP and EPX in response to eotaxin. Importantly, eosinophil stimulation with a synthetic L-plastin peptide (residues 2–19) phosphorylated on Ser5 upregulated αMβ2 integrin expression and increased eosinophil migration in response to eotaxin independent of GM-CSF stimulation. Our results establish a causative role for PKCβII and L-plastin in linking GM-CSF-induced eosinophil priming for chemotaxis and degranulation to signaling events associated with integrin activation via induction of PKCβII -mediated L-plastin phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC3100773  PMID: 21525390
Eosinophils; Cytokines; Signal Transduction; Priming
10.  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
11.  IL-33 Attenuates Anoxia/Reoxygenation-Induced Cardiomyocyte Apoptosis by Inhibition of PKCβ/JNK Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56089.
Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is a new member of the IL-1 cytokine family. The objectives of present study are to assess whether IL-33 can protect cardiomyocytes from anoxia/reoxygenation (A/R)-induced injury and the mechanism involved in the protection.
Cardiomyocytes derived from either wild type or JNK1−/− mice were challenged with an A/R with or without IL-33. Myocyte apoptosis was assessed by measuring caspase 3 activity, fragmented DNA and TUNEL staining. In addition, cardiomyocyte oxidative stress was assessed by measuring DHR123 oxidation; PKCβII and JNK phosphorylation were assessed with Western blot.
Challenge of cardiomyocytes with an A/R resulted in cardiomyocyte oxidative stress, PKCβII and JNK phosphorylation, and myocyte apoptosis. Treatment of the cardiomyocytes with IL-33 attenuated the A/R-induced myocyte oxidative stress, prevented PKCβII and JNK phosphorylation and attenuated the A/R-induced myocyte apoptosis. The protective effect of the IL-33 did not show in cardiac myocytes with siRNA specific to PKCβII or myocytes deficient in JNK1. Inhibition of PKCβII prevented the A/R-induced JNK phosphorylation, but inhibition of JNK1 showed no effect on A/R-induced PKCβII phosphorylation.
Our results indicate that IL-33 prevents the A/R-induced myocyte apoptosis through inhibition of PKCβ/JNK pathway.
PMCID: PMC3573011  PMID: 23457506
12.  Tumor-Induced STAT3 Signaling in Myeloid Cells Impairs Dendritic Cell Generation by Decreasing PKCβII Abundance 
Science signaling  2014;7(313):ra16.
A major mechanism by which cancers escape control by the immune system is by blocking the differentiation of myeloid cells into dendritic cells (DCs), immunostimulatory cells that activate anti-tumor T cells. Tumor-dependent activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling in myeloid progenitor cells is thought to cause this block in their differentiation. In addition, a signaling pathway through protein kinase C βII (PKCβII) is essential for the differentiation of myeloid cells into DCs. Here, we found in humans and mice that breast cancer cells substantially decreased the abundance of PKCβII in myeloid progenitor cells through a mechanism involving the enhanced activation of STAT3 signaling by soluble, tumor-derived factors (TDFs). STAT3 bound to previously undescribed negative regulatory elements within the promoter of PRKCB, which encodes PKCβII. We also found a previously undescribed counter-regulatory mechanism through which the activity of PKCβII inhibited tumor-dependent STAT3 signaling by decreasing the abundance of cell-surface receptors, such as cytokine and growth factor receptors, that are activated by TDFs. Together, these data suggest that a previously unrecognized crosstalk mechanism between the STAT3 and PKCβII signaling pathways provides the molecular basis for the tumor-induced blockade in the differentiation of myeloid cells, and suggest that enhancing PKCβII activity may be a therapeutic strategy to alleviate cancer-mediated suppression of the immune system.
PMCID: PMC4033697  PMID: 24550541
13.  Post-translational modifications of myofilament proteins involved in length-dependent prolongation of relaxation in rabbit right ventricular myocardium 
The phosphorylation state of several cardiac myofilament proteins changes with the level of stretch in intact, twitch-contracting cardiac muscles. It remains unclear which kinases are involved in the length-dependent phosphorylation of these proteins. We set out to investigate which kinases are involved after a step-wise change in cardiac muscle length. We hypothesize that myofilament protein phosphorylation by PKCβII and PKA alters contractile kinetics during length-dependent activation. Right ventricular intact trabeculae were isolated from New Zealand White rabbit hearts and stimulated to contract at 1 Hz. Twitch force recordings where taken at taut and optimal muscle lengths before and after administration of kinase inhibitors at 37 °C. PKCβII inhibition significantly decreased time from stimulation to peak force (TTP), time from peak force to 50% relaxation (RT50), and 90% relaxation (RT90) at optimal muscle length. This led to a loss in the length-dependent increase of RT50 and RT90 in the presence of the PKCβII inhibitor, whereas the length-dependent increase in RT50 and RT90 was seen in the controls. PKA inhibition using H-89 significantly decreased TTP at both taut and optimal muscle lengths. Detection of Ser/Thr phosphorylation with ProQ-diamond staining indicates a role for PKCβII in the phosphorylation of tropomyosin and myosin light chain-2 (MLC2) and PKA for tropomyosin, troponin-I, MLC2, myosin binding protein-C, troponin-T (TnT) 3 and TnT4. Our data provide evidence for two signaling kinases acting upon myofilament proteins during length-dependent activation, and provide further insight for length-dependent myofilament function.
PMCID: PMC3640662  PMID: 23085150
Frank-Starling mechanism; Contraction; Kinetics; Protein kinase C; Protein kinase A; Phosphorylation; Rabbit
14.  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
15.  PKCβII acts downstream of chemoattractant receptors and mTORC2 to regulate cAMP production and myosin II activity in neutrophils 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2014;25(9):1446-1457.
mTORC2 has been shown to be involved in cytoskeletal regulation, but the mechanisms by which this takes place are poorly understood. This study shows that PKCβII is specifically required for mTORC2-dependent activation of adenylyl cyclase 9 and back retraction during neutrophil chemotaxis to chemoattractants.
Chemotaxis is a process by which cells polarize and move up a chemical gradient through the spatiotemporal regulation of actin assembly and actomyosin contractility, which ultimately control front protrusions and back retractions. We previously demonstrated that in neutrophils, mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2) is required for chemoattractant-mediated activation of adenylyl cyclase 9 (AC9), which converts ATP into cAMP and regulates back contraction through MyoII phosphorylation. Here we study the mechanism by which mTORC2 regulates neutrophil chemotaxis and AC9 activity. We show that inhibition of protein kinase CβII (PKCβII) by CPG53353 or short hairpin RNA knockdown severely inhibits chemoattractant-induced cAMP synthesis and chemotaxis in neutrophils. Remarkably, PKCβII-inhibited cells exhibit specific and severe tail retraction defects. In response to chemoattractant stimulation, phosphorylated PKCβII, but not PKCα, is transiently translocated to the plasma membrane, where it phosphorylates and activates AC9. mTORC2-mediated PKCβII phosphorylation on its turn motif, but not its hydrophobic motif, is required for membrane translocation of PKCβII. Inhibition of mTORC2 activity by Rictor knockdown not only dramatically decreases PKCβII activity, but it also strongly inhibits membrane translocation of PKCβII. Together our findings show that PKCβII is specifically required for mTORC2-dependent AC9 activation and back retraction during neutrophil chemotaxis.
PMCID: PMC4004594  PMID: 24600048
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Complex Regulation of PKCβ2 and PDK-1/AKT by ROCK2 in Diabetic Heart 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86520.
The RhoA/ROCK pathway contributes to diabetic cardiomyopathy in part by promoting the sustained activation of PKCβ2 but the details of their interaction are unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate if over-activation of ROCK in the diabetic heart leads to direct phosphorylation and activation of PKCβ2, and to determine if their interaction affects PDK-1/Akt signaling.
Regulation by ROCK of PKCβ2 and related kinases was investigated by Western blotting and co-immunoprecipitation in whole hearts and isolated cardiomyocytes from 12 to 14-week diabetic rats. Direct ROCK2 phosphorylation of PKCβ2 was examined in vitro. siRNA silencing was used to confirm role of ROCK2 in PKCβ2 phosphorylation in vascular smooth muscle cells cultured in high glucose. Furthermore, the effect of ROCK inhibition on GLUT4 translocation was determined in isolated cardiomyocytes by confocal microscopy.
Expression of ROCK2 and expression and phosphorylation of PKCβ2 were increased in diabetic hearts. A physical interaction between the two kinases was demonstrated by reciprocal immunoprecipitation, while ROCK2 directly phosphorylated PKCβ2 at T641 in vitro. ROCK2 siRNA in vascular smooth muscle cells or inhibition of ROCK in diabetic hearts reduced PKCβ2 T641 phosphorylation, and this was associated with attenuation of PKCβ2 activity. PKCβ2 also formed a complex with PDK-1 and its target AKT, and ROCK inhibition resulted in upregulation of the phosphorylation of PDK-1 and AKT, and increased translocation of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane in diabetic hearts.
This study demonstrates that over-activation of ROCK2 contributes to diabetic cardiomyopathy by multiple mechanisms, including direct phosphorylation and activation of PKCβ2 and interference with the PDK-1-mediated phosphorylation and activation of AKT and translocation of GLUT4. This suggests that ROCK2 is a critical node in the development of diabetic cardiomyopathy and may be an effective target to improve cardiac function in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3896488  PMID: 24466133
19.  Immunolocalization of Protein Kinase C Isoenzymes α, βI, βII and γ in Adult and Developing Rat Kidney 
Protein kinase C (PKC) plays an important role not only in signal transduction mechanisms in various biological processes, but also in the regulation of growth and differentiation during development. We studied the classical PKCα, βI, βII and γ, with regard to their expression in adult and developing rat kidney. PKCα appeared in the ureteric bud at embryonic day (E) 16, and the proximal and distal anlage at E18. After birth, the immunoreactivity of PKCα gradually decreased. In adult, PKCα was expressed intensely in the connecting tubule (CNT), the collecting ducts (CD) and the renal corpuscle, and weakly in the proximal and distal tubules. PKCβI appeared in the ureteric bud at E16, and the proximal anlage at E18. After birth, the immunoreactivity of PKCβI gradually disappeared from the CD and proximal tubule. In adult, PKCβI was expressed in the intercalated cells of the CNT and cortical CD, the proximal straight tubule, and the renal corpuscle. PKCβII appeared in distal anlage at E18, and increased markedly after birth. In the CD, PKCβII immunoreactivity appeared after birth. In adult, PKCβII was expressed in the distal tubule, the CNT and the CD. The immunoreactivity for PKCγ appeared only in the proximal anlage at E18, and increased temporally around the time of birth. However, no immunoreactivity for PKCγ was observed in adult rat kidney. These results indicate that classical PKC isoforms appear to play a role in the regulation of various renal functions and differentiation within specific functional units of the uriniferous tubule in rat kidney.
PMCID: PMC3894519  PMID: 24459505
Protein kinase C; Development; Kidney
20.  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
21.  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
22.  FTY720 Protects Cardiac Microvessels of Diabetes: A Critical Role of S1P1/3 in Diabetic Heart Disease 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42900.
Background: Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of cardiac microvascular disease. The mechanisms by which this damage occurs are unknown. However, research suggests that signaling through the sphingosine-1-phosphates receptor 1 and 3 (S1P1/3) by FTY720, a sphiongolipid drug that is structually similar to SIP, may play a role in the treatment on cardiac microvascular dysfunction in diabetes. We hypothesized that FTY720 might exert the cardioprotective effects of S1P1 and S1P3 viaprotein kinase C-beta (PKCβ II) signaling pathway.
Methodology/Principal Findings: Transthoracic echocardiography was performed to detect the change of cardiac function. Scanning and transmission electron microscope with lanthanum tracer were used to determine microvascular ultrastructure and permeability in vivo. Apoptosis was detected by TUNEL and CD31 dual labeling in paraffin-embedded sections. Laser capture miscrodissection was used to assess cardiac micovascular endothelial cells (CMECs) in vivo. RT-PCR and Western blot analysis were used to determine the mRNA levels and protein expression of S1P1, S1P3, and PKCβ II. In the diabetic rats vs. controls, cardiac capillaries showed significantly higher density; CD31 positive endothelial cells were significantly reduced; the apoptosis index of cardiac endothlial cells was significantly higher. And FTY720 could increase the expressional level of S1P1 and boost S1P3 trasnslocation from membrane to nuclear, then ameliorate cardiac microvascular barrier impairment and pathologic angiogenesis induced by diabetes. In addition, overexpression of PKCβ II significantly decreased the protective effect of FTY720.
Conclusions: Our study represents that the deregulation of S1P1 and S1P3 is an important signalresponsible for cardiac microvascular dysfunction in diabetes. FTY720 might be competent to serve as a potential therapeutic approach for diabetic heart disease through ameliorating cardiac microvascular barrier impairment and pathologic angiogenesis, which might be partly dependent on PKCβII-mediated signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3419247  PMID: 22916176
23.  PKCα, but not PKCβ or PKCγ, regulates contractility and heart failure susceptibility: Implications for ruboxistaurin as a novel therapeutic approach 
Circulation research  2009;105(2):194-200.
Protein kinase Cα (PKCα), PKCβ, and PKCγ comprise the conventional PKC isoform subfamily, which is thought to regulate cardiac disease responsiveness. Indeed, mice lacking the gene for PKCα show enhanced cardiac contractility and reduced susceptibility to heart failure. Recent data also suggest that inhibition of conventional PKC isoforms with Ro-32-0432 or Ro-31-8220 enhances heart function and antagonize failure, although the isoform responsible for these effects is unknown. Here we investigated mice lacking PKCα, PKCβ and PKCγ for effects on cardiac contractility and heart failure susceptibility. PKCα−/− mice, but not PKCβγ−/−, showed increased cardiac contractility, myocyte cellular contractility, Ca2+ transients, and sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ load. PKCα−/− mice were less susceptible to heart failure following long-term pressure overload stimulation or 4 weeks after myocardial infarction injury, while PKCβγ−/− mice showed more severe failure. Infusion of ruboxistaurin (LY333531), an orally available PKCα/β/γ inhibitor, increased cardiac contractility in wildtype and PKCβγ−/− mice, but not in PKCα−/− mice. More importantly, ruboxistaurin prevented death in wildtype mice throughout 10 weeks of pressure overload stimulation, reduced ventricular dilation, enhanced ventricular performance, reduced fibrosis, and reduced pulmonary edema comparable to or better than metoprolol treatment. Ruboxistaurin was also administered to PKCβγ−/− mice subjected to pressure overload, resulting in less death and heart failure, implicating PKCα as the primary target of this drug in mitigating heart disease. As an aside, PKCαβγ triple null mice showed no defect in cardiac hypertrophy following pressure overload stimulation. In conclusion, PKCα functions distinct from PKCβ and PKCγ in regulating cardiac contractility and heart failure, and broad acting PKC inhibitors such as ruboxistaurin, could represent a novel therapeutic approach in treating human heart failure.
PMCID: PMC2749656  PMID: 19556521
Heart failure; contractility; PKC; signaling; cardiomyopathy
24.  Protein kinase C-beta inhibition induces apoptosis and inhibits cell cycle progression in AIDS-related Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cells 
AIDS-related Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (AIDS-NHL) constitutes an aggressive variety of lymphomas characterized by increased extranodal involvement, relapse rate and resistance to chemotherapy. PKCβ targeting showed promising results in preclinical and clinical studies involving a wide variety of cancers, but studies describing the role of PKCβ in AIDS-NHL are primitive if not lacking. In the present study, three AIDS-NHL cell lines were examined: 2F7 (AIDS-Burkitt Lymphoma), BCBL-1 (AIDS-Primary Effusion Lymphoma) and UMCL01-101 (AIDS-Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma). Immunoblot analysis demonstrated expression of PKCβ1 and PKCβ2 in 2F7 and UMCL01-101 cells, and PKCβ1 alone in BCBL-1 cells. The viability of 2F7 and BCBL-1 cells decreased significantly in the presence of PKCβ-selective inhibitor at IC50 of 14 μM and 15 μM, respectively, as measured by MTS assay. In contrast, UMCL01-101 cells were relatively resistant. As determined using flow cytometric TUNEL assay with propidium iodide staining, the responsiveness of sensitive cells was associated with apoptotic induction and cell cycle inhibition. PKCβ-selective inhibition was observed not to affect AKT phosphorylation, but to induce a rapid and sustained reduction in the phosphorylation of GSK3β, ribosomal protein S6, and mTOR in sensitive cell lines. The results indicate that PKCβ plays an important role in AIDS-related NHL survival, and suggest that PKCβ targeting should be considered in a broader spectrum of NHL. The observations in BCBL-1 were unexpected in the absence of PKCβ2 expression and implicate PKCβ1 as a regulator in those cells.
PMCID: PMC3246133  PMID: 21997316
AIDS-related lymphoma; protein kinase C-beta; Apoptosis; Cell cycle inhibition; Targeted therapy
25.  Activation of PKC isoform βI at the blood–brain barrier rapidly decreases P-glycoprotein activity and enhances drug delivery to the brain 
P-glycoprotein is an ATP (adenosine triphosphate)-driven drug efflux transporter that is highly expressed at the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and is a major obstacle to the pharmacotherapy of central nervous system diseases, including brain tumors, neuro-AIDS, and epilepsy. Previous studies have shown that P-glycoprotein transport activity in rat brain capillaries is rapidly reduced by the proinflammatory cytokine, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) acting through protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent signaling. In this study, we used isolated rat brain capillaries to show that the TNF-α-induced reduction of P-glycoprotein activity was prevented by a PKCβI/II inhibitor, LY333531, and mimicked by a PKCβI/II activator, 12-deoxyphorbol-13-phenylacetate-20-acetate (dPPA). Western blotting of brain capillary extracts with phospho-specific antibodies showed that dPPA activated PKCβI, but not PKCβII. Moreover, in intact rats, intracarotid infusion of dPPA potently increased brain accumulation of the P-glycoprotein substrate, [3H]-verapamil without compromising tight junction integrity. Thus, PKCβI activation selectively reduced P-glycoprotein activity both in vitro and in vivo. Targeting PKCβI at the BBB may prove to be an effective strategy for enhancing the delivery of small molecule therapeutics to the brain.
PMCID: PMC2949219  PMID: 20197783
blood–brain barrier; CNS drugs; P-glycoprotein; PKCbeta; protein kinase C; tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α)

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