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Am J Physiol. 1997 Feb;272(2 Pt 2):F273-82.

G alpha(i-2) mediates renal LLC-PK1 growth by a Raf-independent activation of p42/p44 MAP kinase.

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Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston 02114, USA.


The protooncogene G alpha(i-2) plays a pivotal role in signaling pathways that control renal cell growth and differentiation. Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are potential downstream effectors for G alpha(i-2) in these pathways. In predifferentiated LLC-PK1 renal cells, the temporal maximal expression of G alpha(i-2) coincided with maximal activation of MAPK(p42/p44). By contrast, pertussis toxin treatment of these cells inhibited cell growth and reduced MAPK(p42/p44) activity by 30%. These findings reflected upstream activation of MAPK kinase (MEK1), as transient transfection of cells with a plasmid encoding a constitutively active form of MEK1 increased MAPK(p42/p44) activity and cell growth, whereas treatment with PD-098059, an inhibitor of MEK1 activity, reduced MAPK(p42/p44) activity and cell growth. Expression of a guanosinetriphosphatase (GTPase)-deficient G alpha(i-2) in these cells increased MAPK(p42/p44) activity and correspondingly reduced cell doubling time from 24 to 10 h without altering the activity of Raf-1 or c-Jun/stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs). By contrast, expression of a GTPase-deficient G alpha(i-3) in these cells reduced both their cell doubling time by 30% and MAPK(p42/p44) activity by 60%. As the known MEKK isoforms (MEKK1, -2, and -3) can also activate SAPKs, these findings suggest the GTP-charged G alpha(i-2) subunit transduces growth signals in renal cells via activation of MAPK(p42/p44) and that such activation may be linked to pathways containing novel MEKK isoforms that preferentially activate MEKs.

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