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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jun 21;277(25):23065-75. Epub 2002 Apr 8.

c-Raf/MEK/ERK pathway controls protein kinase C-mediated p70S6K activation in adult cardiac muscle cells.

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Cardiology Division of the Department of Medicine, Gazes Cardiac Research Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425-2221, USA.


p70S6 kinase (S6K1) plays a pivotal role in hypertrophic cardiac growth via ribosomal biogenesis. In pressure-overloaded myocardium, we show S6K1 activation accompanied by activation of protein kinase C (PKC), c-Raf, and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). To explore the importance of the c-Raf/MAPK kinase (MEK)/MAPK pathway, we stimulated adult feline cardiomyocytes with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), insulin, or forskolin to activate PKC, phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase, or protein kinase A (PKA), respectively. These treatments resulted in S6K1 activation with Thr-389 phosphorylation as well as mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and S6 protein phosphorylation. Thr-421/Ser-424 phosphorylation of S6K1 was observed predominantly in TPA-treated cells. Dominant negative c-Raf expression or a MEK1/2 inhibitor (U0126) treatment showed a profound blocking effect only on the TPA-stimulated phosphorylation of S6K1 and mTOR. Whereas p38 MAPK inhibitors exhibited only partial effect, MAPK-phosphatase-3 expression significantly blocked the TPA-stimulated S6K1 and mTOR phosphorylation. Inhibition of mTOR with rapamycin blocked the Thr-389 but not the Thr-421/Ser-424 phosphorylation of S6K1. Therefore, during PKC activation, the c-Raf/MEK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2) pathway mediates both the Thr-421/Ser-424 and the Thr-389 phosphorylation in an mTOR-independent and -dependent manner, respectively. Together, our in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that the PKC/c-Raf/MEK/ERK pathway plays a major role in the S6K1 activation in hypertrophic cardiac growth.

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