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J Cell Physiol. 2003 Feb;194(2):127-38.

Galphaq signaling is required for Rho-dependent transcriptional activation of the cyclooxygenase-2 promoter in fibroblasts.

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Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center, Greater Los Angeles VA Medical Center, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


Previously, we demonstrated that the gastrin releasing peptide (GRP) induces cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression through a Rho-dependent, protein kinase C (PKC)-independent signaling pathway in fibroblasts (Slice et al., 1999, J Biol Chem 274:27562-27566). However, the specific role of heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide binding regulatory proteins (G-proteins) that are coupled to the GRP receptor in Rho-dependent COX-2 expression has not been elucidated. In this report, we utilize embryonic fibroblasts from transgenic mice containing double gene knock-outs (DKO) for Galpha(q/11) and Galpha(12/13) to demonstrate that COX-2 promoter activation by GRP requires Galpha(q). Furthermore, we show that GRP-dependent COX-2 gene expression, as assessed by a COX-2 reporter luciferase assay, was induced in cells lacking Galpha(12/13) but was blocked in cells that did not express Galpha(q/11). GRP-dependent COX-2 promoter induction in Galpha(q/11) deficient cells was rescued by expression of wild type Galpha(q) but blocked by inhibition of calcium signaling in calcium-free media or in cells treated with 2-aminoethoxydiphenylborate (2-APB). Co-stimulation of transfected Galpha(q/11) deficient cells with GRP and thapsigargin (TG) induced the COX-2 promoter. Activation of endogenous Rho by expression of Onco-lbc or expression of Rho A Q63L resulted in COX-2 promoter activation in Galpha(q/11) deficient cells. Inhibition of Rho by Clostridium botulinum C3 toxin blocked COX-2 promoter induction. Expression of Galpha(q) Q209L in the well-characterized fibroblast cell line, NIH3T3, induced the COX-2 promoter which was blocked by expression of C3 toxin. These results demonstrate that calcium signaling mediated by Galpha(q) and Rho play critical roles in GRP-dependent COX-2 expression in fibroblasts.

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