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J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 15;277(46):44187-94. Epub 2002 Sep 5.

The role of p42/44 MAPK and protein kinase B in connective tissue growth factor induced extracellular matrix protein production, cell migration, and actin cytoskeletal rearrangement in human mesangial cells.

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Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Ireland.


Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a member of an emerging family of immediate-early gene products that coordinate complex biological processes during differentiation and tissue repair. Here we describe the role of CTGF in integrin-mediated adhesive signaling and the production of extracellular matrix components in human mesangial cells. The addition of CTGF to primary mesangial cells induced fibronectin production, cell migration, and cytoskeletal rearrangement. These functional responses were associated with recruitment of Src and phosphorylation of p42/44 MAPK and protein kinase B. The inhibition of CTGF-induced p42/44 MAPK or phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B pathway activities abrogated the induction of fibronectin expression. In addition, anti-beta(3) integrin antibodies attenuated the activation of both the p42/44 MAPK and protein kinase B and the increase in fibronectin levels. CTGF also induced mesangial cell migration via a beta(3) integrin-dependent mechanism that was similarly sensitive to the inhibition of the p42/44 MAPK and PI3K pathways, and it promoted the adhesion of the mesangial cells to type I collagen via up-regulation of alpha(1) integrin. Transient actin cytoskeletal disassembly was observed following treatment with the ligand over the course of a 24-h period. CTGF induced the loss of focal adhesions from the mesangial cell as evidenced by the loss of punctate vinculin. However, these processes are p42/44 MAPK and PI3K pathway-independent. Our data support the hypothesis that CTGF mediates a number of its biological effects by the induction of signaling processes via beta(3) integrin. However, others such as actin cytoskeleton disassembly are modulated in a beta(3) integrin/MAPK/PI3K-independent manner, indicating that CTGF is a complex pleiotropic factor with the potential to amplify primary pathophysiological responses.

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