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Biochem Cell Biol. 2005 Oct;83(5):644-53.

Lymphoid signal transduction mechanisms linked to cellular prion protein.

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  • 1Caprion Pharmaceuticals, Montreal, QC H4S 2C8, Canada.


The normal cellular isoform of the prion protein (PrPC) is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored cell surface protein that is expressed widely, including in lymphoid cells. We compared lectin-induced mitogenesis and selected cell signaling pathways in splenocytes from wild-type BALB/c mice and Zrch Prnp0/0 (PrP0/0) mice bred on a BALB/c background for more than 10 generations. 3H-thymidine incorporation induced by concanavalin A (Con A) or phytohemagglutinin (PHA) was significantly reduced in PrP0/0 splenocytes, most prominently early in activation (24 and 48 h). Con A activation in PrP0/0 splenocytes was associated with differences in the phosphorylation (P) patterns of protein kinase C (PKC alpha/beta, but not delta) and the PKC downstream effectors p44/42MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase). P-PKC and P-MAPK profiles were similar in wild-type and PrP0/0 splenocytes following PMA treatment, indicating that the ability of these 2 enzymes to be phosphorylated is not impaired in the absence of PrPC. Con A-induced calcium fluxes, monitored by indo-1 fluorescence, were equivalent in PrP0/0 and PrP+/+ splenocytes, suggesting that calcium-dependent mechanisms are not directly implicated in the differential phosphorylation patterns or mitotic responses. Our data indicate that PrP0/0 splenocytes display defects in upstream or downstream mechanism(s) that modulate PKCalpha/beta phosphorylation, which in turn affects its capacity to regulate splenocyte mitosis, consistent with a role for PrPC in immune function.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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