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J Biol Chem. 1994 Mar 18;269(11):7851-4.

cAMP and beta gamma subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins stimulate the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway in COS-7 cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are activated by a variety of extracellular stimuli, including agonists for G protein-coupled receptors. Using transient transfection of COS-7 cells, we have studied the stimulation of a hemagglutinin-tagged p44mapk (p44HA-mapk) by receptors coupled to Gs, Gq, and Gi. Agonists that act via all three G proteins stimulated p44HA-mapk activity. A constitutively activated alpha s mutant, forskolin, and a cAMP analog also increased p44HA-mapk activity, indicating that cAMP in COS-7 cells, in contrast to other cell types, activates the MAPK pathway. Similarly, a constitutively activated alpha q mutant, overexpression of phospholipase C-beta 2, and a phorbol ester also stimulated p44HA-mapk, suggesting that Gq-coupled receptors stimulate the MAPK pathway by increasing phosphatidylinositol turnover and probably stimulating protein kinase C. In COS-7 cells, in contrast to Rat-1 cells, mutationally activated alpha i did not stimulate the MAPK pathway. G protein beta and gamma subunits, overexpressed together, did activate p44HA-mapk; this finding suggests that in COS-7 cells Gi-coupled receptors may stimulate the MAPK pathway through beta gamma. These unexpected results in COS-7 cells show that G proteins and second messengers regulate the MAPK pathway differently in different cell types.

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