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J Cell Biol. 2002 Mar 4;156(5):905-19. Epub 2002 Feb 25.

PKC alpha regulates the hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes through extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2).

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Members of the protein kinase C (PKC) isozyme family are important signal transducers in virtually every mammalian cell type. Within the heart, PKC isozymes are thought to participate in a signaling network that programs developmental and pathological cardiomyocyte hypertrophic growth. To investigate the function of PKC signaling in regulating cardiomyocyte growth, adenoviral-mediated gene transfer of wild-type and dominant negative mutants of PKC alpha, beta II, delta, and epsilon (only wild-type zeta) was performed in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. Overexpression of wild-type PKC alpha, beta II, delta, and epsilon revealed distinct subcellular localizations upon activation suggesting unique functions of each isozyme in cardiomyocytes. Indeed, overexpression of wild-type PKC alpha, but not betaI I, delta, epsilon, or zeta induced hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes characterized by increased cell surface area, increased [(3)H]-leucine incorporation, and increased expression of the hypertrophic marker gene atrial natriuretic factor. In contrast, expression of dominant negative PKC alpha, beta II, delta, and epsilon revealed a necessary role for PKC alpha as a mediator of agonist-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, whereas dominant negative PKC epsilon reduced cellular viability. A mechanism whereby PKC alpha might regulate hypertrophy was suggested by the observations that wild-type PKC alpha induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase1/2 (ERK1/2), that dominant negative PKC alpha inhibited PMA-induced ERK1/2 activation, and that dominant negative MEK1 (up-stream of ERK1/2) inhibited wild-type PKC alpha-induced hypertrophic growth. These results implicate PKC alpha as a necessary mediator of cardiomyocyte hypertrophic growth, in part, through a ERK1/2-dependent signaling pathway.

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