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Circ Res. 2000 Jun 9;86(11):1173-9.

Cardiotrophic effects of protein kinase C epsilon: analysis by in vivo modulation of PKCepsilon translocation.

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Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.


Protein kinase C (PKC) is a key mediator of many diverse physiological and pathological responses. Although little is known about the specific in vivo roles of the various cardiac PKC isozymes, activation-induced translocation of PKC is believed to be the primary determinant of isozyme-specific functions. Recently, we have identified a catalytically inactive peptide translocation inhibitor (epsilonV1) and translocation activator (psiepsilonRACK [receptors for activated C kinase]) specifically targeting PKCepsilon. Using cardiomyocyte-specific transgenic expression of these peptides, we combined loss- and gain-of-function approaches to elucidate the in vivo consequences of myocardial PKCepsilon signaling. As expected for a PKCepsilon RACK binding peptide, confocal microscopy showed that epsilonV1 decorated cross-striated elements and intercalated disks of cardiac myocytes. Inhibition of cardiomyocyte PKCepsilon by epsilonV1 at lower expression levels upregulated alpha-skeletal actin gene expression, increased cardiomyocyte cell size, and modestly impaired left ventricular fractional shortening. At high expression levels, epsilonV1 caused a lethal dilated cardiomyopathy. In contrast, enhancement of PKCepsilon translocation with psiepsilonRACK resulted in selectively increased beta myosin heavy chain gene expression and normally functioning concentric ventricular remodeling with decreased cardiomyocyte size. These results identify for the first time a role for PKCepsilon signaling in normal postnatal maturational myocardial development and suggest the potential for PKCepsilon activators to stimulate "physiological" cardiomyocyte growth.

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