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Oncogene. 1996 Dec 19;13(12):2517-26.

PKC epsilon functions as an oncogene by enhancing activation of the Raf kinase.

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Columbia-Presbyterian Cancer Center, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Previous studies have indicated that PKCepsilon behaves as an oncogene when overproduced in rodent fibroblasts (Cacace et al., 1993; Mishak et al., 1993). In the present study, Western blot analysis revealed that the hyperphosphorylated form of Raf kinase was present at a high level in PKCepsilon overproducing R6 rat fibroblasts but not in R6 fibroblasts overproducing PKCalpha or beta1. Extracts from the PKCepsilon overproducing cells also exhibited a marked increase in Raf-1 kinase and MAP-kinase activity. To investigate the significance of these findings, dominant negative mutants of ras (N17) or raf (301-1) were stably expressed in early passage control and PKCepsilon-transformed R6 fibroblasts, by transduction using retrovirus-derived constructs. Dominant negative raf expressing clones exhibited a flat morphology, a decreased saturation density, and decreased growth in soft agar. In addition, these reverted clones exhibited decreased Raf kinase activity. In contrast, dominant negative ras expressing clones remained highly transformed. In addition, PKCepsilon was detected in Raf-1 immunoprecipitates indicating that PKCepsilon forms a complex with Raf-1 in vivo. Taken together, these results suggest that PKCepsilon functions as an oncogene in R6 cells by enhancing activation of the Raf-1 kinase.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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