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Int J Cancer. 2001 Sep 1;93(5):635-43.

Relation of the induction of epidermal ornithine decarboxylase and hyperplasia to the different skin tumor-promotion susceptibilities of protein kinase C alpha, -delta and -epsilon transgenic mice.

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Department of Human Oncology, Medical School, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA.


To define the in vivo role of individual PKC isoforms in mouse skin carcinogenesis, we previously characterized FVB/n transgenic mice that over-expressed epitope-tagged PKC delta (T7-PKC delta) or PKC epsilon (T7-PKC epsilon) isoforms under the regulation of the human K14 promoter. In continuation of our prior PKC isoform specificity studies, we now report the generation of FVB/n transgenic mice with K14-regulated, epitope-tagged PKC alpha (T7-PKC alpha). T7-PKC alpha transgenic mice (line 115) express 8-fold more PKC alpha protein than wild-type mice. Using high-resolution immunogold cytochemistry, we determined that transgenic over-expression of T7-PKC alpha did not alter the subcellular localization of PKC alpha but that the density of PKC alpha staining increased. PKC alpha localized primarily to the cytoskeleton (tonofilaments, tight junctions) and cell membranes, with modest but definite nuclear labeling also identified. Also, PKC alpha over-expression did not alter the immunoreactive protein levels of other PKC isoforms (delta, epsilon, eta, zeta, mu) in the epidermis. Skin tumor-promotion susceptibility was compared among all 3 lines of T7-PKC transgenic mice (alpha, delta and epsilon). While T7-PKC alpha had no effect on skin tumor promotion by TPA, T7-PKC delta reduced papilloma burden by 76% compared to wild-type controls. T7-PKC epsilon further reduced papilloma burden to 93% compared to wild-type controls but still resulted in the development of squamous-cell carcinoma. To find potential mechanisms of PKC-associated differences in tumor promotion, the induction of known downstream effectors of tumor promotion, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity and epidermal hyperplasia, was determined. Despite long-term papilloma inhibition in both PKC delta and PKC epsilon transgenic mice, the induction of ODC by TPA was not attenuated in PKC delta and epsilon mouse lines. Both PKC transgenic and wild-type mice exhibited sustained hyperplasia after repeated TPA treatments. However, TPA-induced epidermal hyperplasia in T7-PKC epsilon mice was significantly increased (52%) compared with T7-PKC alpha, T7-PKC delta and wild-type mice. TPA-induced ODC activity and the resultant accumulation of polyamines may play different roles (e.g., induction of apoptosis vs. proliferation) in the pathways leading to the induction of cancer in PKC alpha, PKC delta and PKC epsilon transgenic mice.

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