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Neurotoxicology. 2011 Oct;32(5):567-77. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2011.06.009. Epub 2011 Jul 23.

Environmental neurotoxic pesticide dieldrin activates a non receptor tyrosine kinase to promote PKCδ-mediated dopaminergic apoptosis in a dopaminergic neuronal cell model.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


Oxidative stress and apoptosis are two key pathophysiological mechanisms underlying dopaminergic degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). Recently, we identified that proteolytic activation of protein kinase C-delta (PKCδ), a member of the novel PKC family, contributes to oxidative stress-induced dopaminergic degeneration and that phosphorylation of tyrosine residue 311 (tyr311) on PKCδ is a key event preceding the PKCδ proteolytic activation during oxidative damage. Herein, we report that a non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fyn is significantly expressed in a dopaminergic neuronal N27 cell model. Exposure of N27 cells to the dopaminergic toxicant dieldrin (60 μM) rapidly activated Fyn kinase, PKCδ-tyr311 phosphorylation and proteolytic cleavage. Fyn kinase activation precedes the caspase-3-mediated proteolytic activation of PKCδ. Pre-treatment with p60-tyrosine-specific kinase inhibitor (TSKI) almost completely attenuated dieldrin-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ-tyr311 and its proteolytic activation. Additionally, TSKI almost completely blocked dieldrin-induced apoptotic cell death. To further confirm Fyn's role in the pro-apoptotic function of PKCδ, we adopted the RNAi approach. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Fyn kinase also effectively attenuated dieldrin-induced phosphorylation of PKCδ-tyr311, caspase-3-mediated PKCδ proteolytic cleavage, and DNA fragmentation, suggesting that Fyn kinase regulates the pro-apoptotic function of PKCδ. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time that Fyn kinase is a pro-apoptotic kinase that regulates upstream signaling of the PKCδ-mediated apoptotic cell death pathway in neurotoxicity models of pesticide exposure.

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