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J Biol Chem. 1989 May 15;264(14):8237-40.

Endothelin stimulates diacylglycerol accumulation and activates protein kinase C in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.


Endothelin, a novel peptide isolated from the conditioned medium of endothelial cells, causes a slow, sustained contraction of vascular smooth muscle, but its mechanism of action remains unclear. To determine whether the diacylglycerol/protein kinase C signalling pathway is stimulated by endothelin, we exposed cultured rat aortic smooth muscle cells to endothelin and measured diacylglycerol accumulation and protein kinase C-dependent protein phosphorylation. Endothelin stimulated a dose-dependent, biphasic increase in diacylglycerol, which was sustained for at least 20 min. This peptide also induced a prolonged phosphorylation of an acidic protein with a molecular weight of 76,000, which was detectable by 30 s and sustained for at least 20 min. This phosphorylation could be mimicked by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, but not by ionomycin, and was markedly reduced when protein kinase C was down-regulated by a 24-h pretreatment with phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate. These results suggest that endothelin causes a robust stimulation of the diacylglycerol/protein kinase C pathway in cultured vascular smooth muscle cells, and that this mechanism may contribute importantly to the physiologic events stimulated by endothelin in intact blood vessels, including slow, tonic contraction and Ca2+ influx.

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