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EMBO J. 1995 Feb 15;14(4):674-84.

Requirement of MAP kinase for differentiation of fibroblasts to adipocytes, for insulin activation of p90 S6 kinase and for insulin or serum stimulation of DNA synthesis.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Southampton, UK.


A phosphorothioate-oligonucleotide-based antisense strategy for depleting MAP kinase was developed. The 17mer antisense probe, EAS 1, caused a potent and concentration-dependent decrease in the steady state expression of p42 and p44 MAP kinase in 3T3 L1 fibroblasts and adipocytes with submicromolar concentrations effective. Antisense EAS 1 elicited a dose-dependent inhibition of insulin- and serum-stimulated DNA synthesis. Elimination of p42 MAP kinase by > 95% and p44 MAP kinase to levels undetected blocked the ability of serum in 3T3 L1 fibroblasts and insulin in 3T3 L1 adipocytes to stimulate DNA synthesis by 87-95%. The differentiation of 3T3 L1 fibroblasts into adipocytes was prevented by 1 microM antisense EAS 1. The corresponding sense, scrambled or sense plus antisense EAS 1 phosphorothioate oligonucleotides did not deplete the p42 or p44 MAP kinase from either cell type, did not inhibit stimulation of DNA synthesis and did not interfere with differentiation. Two kinases on different MAP kinase activation pathways were not depleted by antisense EAS 1 whereas the ability of insulin to activate p90 S6 kinase was > 90% eliminated in 3T3 L1 adipocytes by 4.5 microM antisense EAS 1. In conclusion these results show that MAP kinase is required for insulin and serum stimulation of DNA synthesis, for insulin stimulation of p90 S6 kinase activity and for differentiation of 3T3 L1 cells. Moreover, the development of the antisense probe EAS 1 against a target sequence of p42 MAP kinase that is conserved in p44 MAP kinase and across a range of species provides a molecular tool of general applicability for further dissecting the precise targets and roles of MAP kinase.

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