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Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2011 Jul;301(1):F197-208. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00364.2010. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Protein kinase C-epsilon activation induces mitochondrial dysfunction and fragmentation in renal proximal tubules.

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  • 1University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 4301 West Markham St., Little Rock, AR 72205, USA.


PKC-ε activation mediates protection from ischemia-reperfusion injury in the myocardium. Mitochondria are a subcellular target of these protective mechanisms of PKC-ε. Previously, we have shown that PKC-ε activation is involved in mitochondrial dysfunction in oxidant-injured renal proximal tubular cells (RPTC; Nowak G, Bakajsova D, Clifton GL Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 286: F307-F316, 2004). The goal of this study was to examine the role of PKC-ε activation in mitochondrial dysfunction and to identify mitochondrial targets of PKC-ε in RPTC. The constitutively active and inactive mutants of PKC-ε were overexpressed in primary cultures of RPTC using the adenoviral technique. Increases in active PKC-ε levels were accompanied by PKC-ε translocation to mitochondria. Sustained PKC-ε activation resulted in decreases in state 3 respiration, electron transport rate, ATP production, ATP content, and activities of complexes I and IV and F(0)F(1)-ATPase. Furthermore, PKC-ε activation increased mitochondrial membrane potential and oxidant production and induced mitochondrial fragmentation and RPTC death. Accumulation of the dynamin-related protein in mitochondria preceded mitochondrial fragmentation. Antioxidants blocked PKC-ε-induced increases in the oxidant production but did not prevent mitochondrial fragmentation and cell death. The inactive PKC-ε mutant had no effect on mitochondrial functions, morphology, oxidant production, and RPTC viability. We conclude that active PKC-ε targets complexes I and IV and F(0)F(1)-ATPase in RPTC. PKC-ε activation mediates mitochondrial dysfunction, hyperpolarization, and fragmentation. It also induces oxidant generation and cell death, but oxidative stress is not the mechanism of RPTC death. These results show that in contrast to protective effects of PKC-ε activation in cardiomyocytes, sustained PKC-ε activation is detrimental to mitochondrial function and viability in RPTC.

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