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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Apr;1769(4):253-65. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

Sphingosine kinase 1 expression is regulated by signaling through PI3K, AKT2, and mTOR in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Foundation, H059, The Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 17033-0850, USA.


Sphingosine kinase 1 (SphK1) is a lipid kinase implicated in mitogenic signaling pathways in vascular smooth muscle cells. We demonstrate that human coronary artery smooth muscle (HCASM) cells require SphK1 for growth and that SphK1 mRNA and protein levels are elevated in PDGF stimulated HCASM cells. To determine the mechanism of PDGF-induced SphK1 expression, we used pharmacological inhibitors of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. Wortmannin, SH-5, and rapamycin significantly blocked PDGF-stimulated induction of SphK1 mRNA and protein expression, indicating a regulatory role of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in SphK1 expression. To determine which isoform of AKT regulates SphK1 mRNA and protein levels, siRNAs specific for AKT1, AKT2, and AKT3 were used. We show that AKT2 siRNA significantly blocked PDGF-stimulated increases in SphK1 mRNA and protein expression levels as well as SphK1 enzymatic activity levels. In contrast, AKT1 or AKT3 siRNA did not have an effect. Together, these results demonstrate that the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway is involved in regulation of SphK1, with AKT2 playing a key role in PDGF-induced SphK1 expression in HCASM cells.

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