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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004 Jun;286(6):H2195-203. Epub 2004 Feb 19.

PKC-epsilon regulation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase: a potential role in phenylephrine-induced cardiocyte growth.

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Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine, Gazes Cardiac Research Institute, Medical University of South Carolina, 303 Thurmond Bldg., 114 Doughty Street, Charleston, SC 29403, USA.


Hypertrophic growth of cardiac muscle is dependent on activation of the PKC-epsilon isoform. To define the effectors of PKC-epsilon involved in growth regulation, recombinant adenoviruses were used to overexpress either wild-type PKC-epsilon (PKC-epsilon/WT) or dominant negative PKC-epsilon (PKC-epsilon/DN) in neonatal rat cardiocytes. PKC-epsilon/DN inhibited acute activation of PKC-epsilon produced in response to phorbol ester and reduced ERK1/2 activity as measured by the phosphorylation of p42 and p44 isoforms. The inhibitory effects were specific to PKC-epsilon because PKC-epsilon/DN did not prevent translocation of either PKC-alpha or PKC-delta. Overexpression of PKC-epsilon/DN blunted the acute increase in ERK1/2 phorphorylation induced by the alpha(1)-adrenergic agonist phenylephrine (PE ). Inhibition of PKC-delta with rottlerin potentiated the effects of PE on ERK1/2 phosphorylation. PKC-epsilon/DN adenovirus also blocked cardiocyte growth as measured after 48 h of PE treatment, although the multiplicity of infection was lower than that required to block acute ERK1/2 activation. PE activated p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase as measured by its phosphorylation, but the response was not blocked by PKC inhibitors or by overexpression of PKC-epsilon/DN. Taken together, these studies show that the hypertrophic agonist PE regulates ERK1/2 activity in cardiocytes by a pathway dependent on PKC-epsilon and that PE-induced growth is mediated by PKC-epsilon.

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