Send to

Choose Destination
Biochem J. 2004 Oct 1;383(Pt 1):63-71.

Alterations in protein kinase C activity and processing during zinc-deficiency-induced cell death.

Author information

Department of Nutrition, University of California, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8669, USA.


Protein kinases C (PKCs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases that are critical for signal transduction pathways involved in growth, differentiation and cell death. All PKC isoforms have four conserved domains, C1-C4. The C1 domain contains cysteine-rich finger-like motifs, which bind two zinc atoms. The zinc-finger motifs modulate diacylglycerol binding; thus, intracellular zinc concentrations could influence the activity and localization of PKC family members. 3T3 cells were cultured in zinc-deficient or zinc-supplemented medium for up to 32 h. Cells cultured in zinc-deficient medium had decreased zinc content, lowered cytosolic classical PKC activity, increased caspase-3 processing and activity, and reduced cell number. Zinc-deficient cytosols had decreased activity and expression levels of PKC-alpha, whereas PKC-alpha phosphorylation was not altered. Inhibition of PKC-alpha with Gö6976 had no effect on cell number in the zinc-deficient group. Proteolysis of the novel PKC family member, PKC-delta, to its 40-kDa catalytic fragment occurred in cells cultured in the zinc-deficient medium. Occurrence of the PKC-delta fragment in mitochondria was co-incident with caspase-3 activation. Addition of the PKC-delta inhibitor, rottlerin, or zinc to deficient medium reduced or eliminated proteolysis of PKC-delta, activated caspase-3 and restored cell number. Inhibition of caspase-3 processing by Z-DQMD-FMK (Z-Asp-Gln-Met-Asp-fluoromethylketone) did not restore cell number in the zinc-deficient group, but resulted in processing of full-length PKC-delta to a 56-kDa fragment. These results support the concept that intracellular zinc concentrations influence PKC activity and processing, and that zinc-deficiency-induced apoptosis occurs in part through PKC-dependent pathways.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center