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Biochem J. 1997 Aug 1;325 ( Pt 3):801-10.

Cell stress-induced phosphorylation of ATF2 and c-Jun transcription factors in rat ventricular myocytes.

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Division of Cardiac Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine at N.H.L.I., Dovehouse Street, London SW3 6LY, U.K.


Ventricular myocytes are exposed to various pathologically important cell stresses in vivo. In vitro, extreme stresses (sorbitol-induced hyperosmotic shock in the presence or absence of okadaic acid, and anisomycin) were applied to ventricular myocytes cultured from neonatal rat hearts to induce a robust activation of the 46 and 54 kDa stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs). These activities were increased in nuclear extracts of cells in the absence of any net import of SAPK protein. Phosphorylation of ATF2 and c-Jun was increased as shown by the appearance of reduced-mobility species on SDS/PAGE, which were sensitive to treatment with protein phosphatase 2A. Hyperosmotic shock and anisomycin had no effect on the abundance of ATF2. In contrast, cell stresses induced a greater than 10-fold increase in total c-Jun immunoreactivity detected on Western blots with antibody to c-Jun (KM-1). Cycloheximide did not inhibit this increase, which we conclude represents phosphorylation of c-Jun. This conclusion was supported by use of a c-Jun(phospho-Ser-73) antibody. Immunostaining of cells also showed increases in nuclear phospho-c-Jun in response to hyperosmotic stress. Severe stress (hyperosmotic shock+okadaic acid for 2 h) induced proteins (migrating at approx. 51 and 57 kDa) that cross-reacted strongly with KM-1 antibodies in both the nucleus and the cytosol. These may represent forms of c-Jun that had undergone further modification. These studies show that stresses induce phosphorylation of transcription factors in ventricular myocytes and we suggest that this response may be pathologically relevant.

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