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EMBO J. 1993 Nov;12(11):4211-20.

cAMP antagonizes p21ras-directed activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 and phosphorylation of mSos nucleotide exchange factor.

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Laboratory for Physiological Chemistry, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


In fibroblasts, stimulation of receptor tyrosine kinases results in the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2). The major signalling pathway employed by these receptors involves the activation of p21ras and raf-1 kinase. Here we show that in NIH3T3 and rat-1 fibroblasts, elevation of the intracellular cAMP level results in the inhibition of ERK2 activation induced by PDGF, EGF and insulin treatment. Analysis of various signalling intermediates shows that cAMP interferes at a site downstream of p21ras, but upstream of raf-1 kinase. Inhibition by cAMP depends on both the cAMP concentration and the absolute amount of p21ras molecules bound to GTP, suggesting a mechanism of competitive inhibition. Also TPA-induced, p21ras-independent, activation of raf-1 kinase and ERK2 is inhibited by cAMP. We have used the inhibitory effect of cAMP to investigate whether phosphorylation of mSos, a p21ras nucleotide exchange factor, is dependent on the activity of the raf-1 kinase/ERK2 pathway. We found that phosphorylation of mSos, as monitored by a mobility shift, is delayed with respect to p21ras and ERK2 activation and is inhibited by cAMP in a similar cell type- and concentration-dependent manner as the inactivation of ERK2. These results provide evidence for a model of p21ras-directed signalling towards ERK2 that feeds back on mSos by regulating its phosphorylation status and that can be negatively modulated by protein kinase A and positively modulated by protein kinase C action.

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