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J Biol Chem. 2004 Mar 5;279(10):9400-8. Epub 2003 Dec 10.

Bcr-Abl regulates protein kinase Ciota (PKCiota) transcription via an Elk1 site in the PKCiota promoter.

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Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA.


The protein kinase C (PKC) family of serine/threonine kinases plays an important role in numerous cancer signaling pathways, including those downstream of the bcr-abl oncogene. We demonstrated previously that atypical PKCiota is required for Bcr-Abl-mediated resistance of human K562 chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells to Taxol-induced apoptosis. Here, we report that the pattern of PKC isozyme expression characteristic of CML cells is regulated by Bcr-Abl. When Bcr-Abl was expressed in Bcr-Abl-negative HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells, expression of the PKCbetaI, PKCbetaII, and PKCiota genes was induced, whereas expression of the PKCdelta gene was reduced to levels similar to those found in CML cells. Given the importance of PKCiota in Bcr-Abl-mediated transformation, we characterized the mechanism by which Bcr-Abl regulates PKCiota expression. A 1200-bp PKCiota promoter construct isolated from genomic DNA was highly active in Bcr-Abl-positive K562 cells and was activated when Bcr-Abl-negative cells were transfected with Bcr-Abl. Bcr-Abl-mediated induction of the PKCiota promoter was dependent upon MEK1/2 activity, but not phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase or p38 MAPK activity. Mutational analysis of the PKCiota promoter revealed a region between 97 and 114 bp upstream of the transcriptional start site that is responsible for Bcr-Abl-mediated regulation. Mutation of a consensus Elk1-binding site within this region abolished Bcr-Abl-mediated regulation. We conclude that Bcr-Abl regulates PKCiota expression through the MEK-dependent activation of an Elk1 element within the proximal PKCiota promoter. Our results indicate that Bcr-Abl-mediated transformation involves transcriptional activation of the PKCiota gene, which in turn is required for Bcr-Abl-mediated chemoresistance.

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