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1.  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.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2009.11.002
PMCID: PMC3760592  PMID: 19913548
3.  Pharmacological inhibition of βIIPKC is cardioprotective in late-stage hypertrophy 
We previously found that in the hearts of hypertensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats, βIIPKC levels increase during the transition from compensated cardiac hypertrophy to cardiac dysfunction. Here we showed that a six-week treatment of these hypertensive rats with a βIIPKC-specific inhibitor, βIIV5-3, prolonged their survival by at least six weeks, suppressed myocardial fibrosis and inflammation, and delayed the transition from compensated hypertrophy to cardiac dysfunction. In addition, changes in the levels of the Ca2+-handling proteins, SERCA2 and the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, as well as troponin I phosphorylation, seen in the control-treated hypertensive rats were not observed in the βIIPKC-treated rats, suggesting that βIIPKC contributes to the regulation of calcium levels in the myocardium. In contrast, treatment with the selective inhibitor of βIPKC, an alternative spliced form of βIIPKC, had no beneficial effects in these rats. We also found that βIIV5-3, but not βIV5-3, improved calcium handling in isolated rat cardiomyocytes and enhanced contractility in isolated rat hearts. In conclusion, our data using an in vivo model of cardiac dysfunction (late-phase hypertrophy), suggest that βIIPKC contributes to the pathology associated with heart failure and thus an inhibitor of βIIPKC may be a potential treatment for this disease.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.08.025
PMCID: PMC3418885  PMID: 21920368
4.  β2-Adrenergic Receptors Mediate Cardioprotection through Crosstalk with Mitochondrial Cell Death Pathways 
Aims
β-adrenergic receptors (β-ARs) modulate cardiotoxicity/cardioprotection through crosstalk with multiple signaling pathways. We have previously shown that β2-ARs are cardioprotective during exposure to oxidative stress induced by doxorubicin (DOX). DOX cardiotoxicity is mediated in part through a Ca2+-dependent opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition (MPT), however the signals linking a cell surface receptor like the β2-AR to regulators of mitochondrial function are not clear. The objective of this study was to assess mechanisms of crosstalk between β2-ARs and mitochondrial cell death pathways.
Methods and Results
DOX administered to WT mice resulted in no acute mortality, however 85% of β2-/- mice died within 30 min. Several pro- and anti-survival pathways were altered. The pro-survival kinase, εPKC, was decreased by 64% in β2-/- after DOX vs WT (p<0.01); the εPKC activator ψεRACK partially rescued these mice (47% reduction in mortality). Activity of the pro-survival kinase Akt decreased by 76% in β2-/- after DOX vs WT (p<0.01). The α1-antagonist prazosin restored Akt activity to normal and also partially reversed the mortality (45%). Deletion of the β2-AR increased rate of Ca2+ release by 75% and peak [Ca2+]i by 20% respectively in isolated cardiomyocytes; the Ca2+ channel blocker verapamil also partially rescued the β2-/- (26%). Mitochondrial architecture was disrupted and complex I and II activities decreased by 40.9% and 34.6% respectively after DOX only in β2-/-. The MPT blocker cyclosporine reduced DOX mortality by 41% and prazosin plus cyclosporine acted synergistically to decrease mortality by 85%.
Conclusion
β2-ARs activate pro-survival kinases and attenuate mitochondrial dysfunction during oxidative stress; absence of β2-ARs enhances cardiotoxicity via negative regulation of survival kinases and enhancement of intracellular Ca2+, thus predisposing the mitochondria to opening of the MPT.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2011.06.019
PMCID: PMC3184305  PMID: 21756913
Adrenergic receptors; cardiomyopathy; mitochondria; signal transduction; protein kinases
5.  βIIPKC and εPKC isozymes as potential pharmacological targets in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure 
Cardiac hypertrophy is a complex adaptive response to mechanical and neurohumoral stimuli and under continual stressor, it contributes to maladaptive responses, heart failure and death. Protein kinase C (PKC) and several other kinases play a role in the maladaptative cardiac responses, including cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, myocardial fibrosis and inflammation. Identifying specific therapies that regulate these kinases is a major focus of current research. PKC, a family of serine/threonine kinases, has emerged as potential mediators of hypertrophic stimuli associated with neurohumoral hyperactivity in heart failure. In this review, we describe the role of PKC isozymes that are involved in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2010.10.020
PMCID: PMC3135714  PMID: 21035454
PKC signaling pathways; cardiac remodeling; heart failure
6.  Activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) confers cardioprotection in protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε) knockout mice 
Acute administration of ethanol can reduce cardiac ischemia/reperfusion injury. Previous studies demonstrated that the acute cytoprotective effect of ethanol on the myocardium is mediated by protein kinase C epsilon (PKCε). We recently identified aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) as an PKCε substrate, whose activation is necessary and sufficient to confer cardioprotection in vivo. ALDH2 metabolizes cytotoxic reactive aldehydes, such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE), which accumulate during cardiac ischemia/reperfusion. Here, we used a combination of PKCε knockout mice and a direct activator of ALDH2, Alda-44, to further investigate the interplay between PKCε and ALDH2 in cardioprotection. We report that ethanol preconditioning requires PKCε, whereas direct activation of ALDH2 reduces infarct size in both wild type and PKCε knockout hearts. Our data suggest that ALDH2 is downstream of PKCε in ethanol preconditioning and that direct activation of ALDH2 can circumvent the requirement of PKCε to induce cytoprotection. We also report that in addition to ALDH2 activation, Alda-44 prevents 4-HNE induced inactivation of ALDH2 by reducing the formation of 4-HNE-ALDH2 protein adducts. Thus, Alda-44 promotes metabolism of cytotoxic reactive aldehydes that accumulate in ischemic myocardium. Taken together, our findings suggest that direct activation of ALDH2 may represent a method of harnessing the cardioprotective effect of ethanol without the side effects associated with alcohol consumption.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2009.10.030
PMCID: PMC2837767  PMID: 19913552
7.  Time-dependent and ethanol-induced cardiac protection from ischemia mediated by mitochondrial translocation of εPKC and activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 
The cardioprotective effects of moderate alcohol consumption have been well documented in animal models and in humans. Protection afforded against ischemia and reperfusion injury (I/R) proceeds through an ischemic preconditioning-like mechanism involving the activation of epsilon protein kinase C (εPKC) and is dependent on the time and duration of ethanol treatment. However, the substrates of εPKC and the molecular mechanisms by which the enzyme protects the heart from oxidative damage induced by I/R are not fully described. Using an open-chest model of acute myocardial infarction in vivo, we find that intraperitoneal injection of ethanol (0.5 g/kg) 60 minutes prior to (but not 15 minutes prior to) a 30-minute transient ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery reduced I/R-mediated injury by 57% (measured as a decrease of creatine phosphokinase release into the blood). Only under cardioprotective conditions, ethanol treatment resulted in the translocation of εPKC to cardiac mitochondria, where the enzyme bound aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2). ALDH2 is an intra-mitochondrial enzyme involved in the detoxification of toxic aldehydes such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) and 4-HNE mediates oxidative damage, at least in part, by covalently modifying and inactivating proteins (by forming 4-HNE adducts). In hearts subjected to I/R after ethanol treatment, the levels of 4-HNE protein adducts were lower and JNK1/2 and ERK1/2 activities were diminished relative to the hearts from rats subjected to I/R in the absence of ethanol. Together, this work provides an insight into the mitochondrial-dependent basis of ethanol-induced and εPKC-mediated protection from cardiac ischemia, in vivo.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.09.713
PMCID: PMC2675554  PMID: 18983847
8.  Mast cells and εPKC: A role in cardiac remodeling in hypertension-induced heart failure 
Heart failure (HF) is a chronic syndrome in which pathological cardiac remodeling is an integral part of the disease and mast cell (MC) degranulation-derived mediators have been suggested to play a role in its progression. Protein kinase C (PKC) signaling is a key event in the signal transduction pathway of MC degranulation. We recently found that inhibition of εPKC slows down the progression of hypertension-induced HF in salt-sensitive Dahl rats fed a high-salt diet. We therefore determined whether εPKC inhibition affects MC degranulation in this model. Six week-old male Dahl rats were fed with a high-salt diet to induce systemic hypertension, which resulted in concentric left ventricular hypertrophy at the age of 11 weeks, followed by myocardial dilatation and HF at the age of 17 weeks. We administered εV1-2 an εPKC-selective inhibitor peptide (3 mg/Kg/day), δV1-1, a δPKC-selective inhibitor peptide (3 mg/Kg/day), TAT (negative control; at equimolar concentration; 1.6 mg/Kg/day) or olmesartan (angiotensin receptor blocker [ARB] as a positive control; 3mg/Kg/day) between 11 weeks and 17 weeks. Treatment with εV1-2 attenuated cardiac MC degranulation without affecting MC density, myocardial fibrosis, microvessel patency, vascular thickening and cardiac inflammation in comparison to TAT- or δV1-1-treatment. Treatment with ARB also attenuated MC degranulation and cardiac remodeling, but to a lesser extent when compared to εV1-2. Finally, εV1-2 treatment inhibited MC degranulation in isolated peritoneal MCs. Together, our data suggest that εPKC inhibition attenuates pathological remodeling in hypertension-induced HF, at least in part, by preventing cardiac MC degranulation.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.08.009
PMCID: PMC2657602  PMID: 18804478
Mast cell degranulation; protein kinase C; PKC-selective inhibitor peptide; cardiac remodeling; heart failure
9.  δPKC Participates in the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Induced Response in Cultured Cardiac Myocytes and Ischemic Heart 
The cellular response to excessive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress includes the activation of signaling pathways, which lead to apoptotic cell death. Here we show that treatment of cultured cardiac myocytes with tunicamycin, an agent that induces ER stress, causes the rapid translocation of δPKC to the ER. We further demonstrate that inhibition of δPKC using the δPKC-specific antagonist peptide, δV1-1, reduces tunicamycin-induced apoptotic cell death, and inhibits expression of specific ER stress response markers such as CHOP, GRP78 and phosphorylation of JNK. The physiological importance of δPKC in this event is further supported by our findings that the ER stress response is also induced in hearts subjected to ischemia and reperfusion injury and that this response also involves δPKC translocation to the ER. We found that the levels of the ER chaperone, GRP78, the spliced XBP-1 and the phosphorylation of JNK are all increased following ischemia and reperfusion and that δPKC inhibition by δV1-1 blocks these events. Therefore, ischemia-reperfusion injury induces ER stress in the myocardium in a mechanism that requires δPKC activity. Taken together, our data show for the first time that δPKC activation plays a critical role in the ER stress-mediated response and the resultant cell death.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2007.07.061
PMCID: PMC2185772  PMID: 17825316
10.  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.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2007.01.007
PMCID: PMC1978508  PMID: 17337000
PKC (protein kinase C); RACK (receptor for activated C-kinase); ψRACK (pseudo RACK); intramolecular interaction; carrier peptide

Results 1-10 (10)