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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Apr;60(4):759-66.

Mast cells stimulated by membrane-bound, but not soluble, steel factor are dependent on phospholipase C activation.

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The Arthritis and Immune Disorder Research Centre, The University Health Network, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, 620 University Ave., Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada.


The steel factor (SLF) and c-Kit growth factor/receptor pair are key molecules governing mast cell development and survival. SLF is expressed on stromal cells as a membrane-bound molecule (mSLF) which can be cleaved by proteases to release a soluble form (sSLF). We investigated the importance of phospholipase C (PLC) activation in mast cells stimulated by sSLF and mSLF. PLC antagonists U73122, neomycin sulfate and oleic acid inhibited mast cell thymidine incorporation stimulated by mSLF, but not by sSLF. These antagonists suppressed sSLF-induced Ca2+ transients but did not significantly interfere with c-Kit phosphorylation or PLC-gamma2 recruitment. p85, the regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase), was found to be efficiently recruited to c-Kit following stimulation by sSLF or mSLF. However PKB/Akt, a kinase activated by PI3-kinase products, was phosphorylated following sSLF stimulation, but not with mSLF. Taken together, these studies demonstrate the importance of PLC activation by mSLF in supporting mast cells.

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