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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1990 Aug;22(8):901-10.

Phorbol esters induce immediate-early genes and activate cardiac gene transcription in neonatal rat myocardial cells.

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Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, La Jolla 92093.


The mechanisms which transduce intracellular signals for the accumulation of myofibrillar protein during the onset of myocardial cell hypertrophy are unknown. Although previous studies in skeletal muscle cells have suggested that the activation of protein kinase C induces de-differentiation, including the selective disassembly of myofibrils and inhibition of myofibrillar protein synthesis, the present study demonstrates that phorbol esters which activate protein kinase C lead to the accumulation of an individual contractile protein, myosin light chain-2 (MLC-2) and produce several features of myocardial cell hypertrophy. Utilizing immunoblotting and indirect immunocytofluorescence with MLC antisera, the present study demonstrates a several-fold increase in the content of MLC-2, and a marked increase in the assembly of MLC into organized contractile units in individual neonatal rat myocardial cells following treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). The concentration of PMA required to elicit this response and the lack of a response with an inactive phorbol ester is consistent with the activation of a protein kinase C dependent pathway. Furthermore, PMA treatment results in the rapid induction of a program of immediate-early gene expression (including the c-fos and c-jun proto-oncogenes, and an inducible zinc finger containing gene, egr-l), and activates cardiac gene transcription as assessed by nuclear run-on analyses. The results of the present study suggest the possibility that a protein kinase C dependent pathway may be involved in the up-regulation of myofibrillar protein content and the activation of cardiac gene transcription during growth and hypertrophy of neonatal rat myocardium, and that the induction of a program of immediate-early gene expression may be linked to this response.

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