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Jpn J Cancer Res. 1995 Aug;86(8):749-55.

Activation of protein kinase C by mycobacterial cord factor, trehalose 6-monomycolate, resulting in tumor necrosis factor-alpha release in mouse lung tissues.

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Saitama Cancer Center Research Institute.


Cord factors are mycoloyl glycolipids in cell walls of bacteria belonging to Actinomycetales, such as Mycobacterium, Nocardia and Rhodococcus. They induce granuloma formation in the lung and interstitial pneumonitis, associated with production of macrophage-derived cytokines. We studied how cord factors induce biological activities in the cells. Cord factors isolated from M. tuberculosis, trehalose 6-monomycolate (mTMM) and trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate (mTDM), enhanced protein kinase C (PKC) activation in the presence of phosphatidylserine (PtdSer), diacylglycerol and Ca2+, and mTMM activated PKC alpha more strongly than PKC beta or gamma under the same assay conditions. Kinetic studies of mTMM in response to PKC activation revealed that mTMM increased the apparent affinity of PKC to Ca2+ in the presence of both PtdSer and diolein. Although this is similar to observations with unsaturated fatty acids, such as arachidonic acid, mTMM was synergistic with PtdSer for PKC activation, but arachidonic acid was not. mTMM was also different as regards PKC activation, as phorbol ester was. A single i.p. administration of mTMM to mouse induced tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) in serum and in the lung, which is a unique target tissue of cord factors. Based on our recent finding that TNF-alpha is an endogenous tumor promoter, the correlation between lung cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis is discussed.

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