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Christiane Hecquet, Gaëlle Lefevre, Monika Valtink, Katrin Engelmann, Frederic Mascarelli; Activation and Role of MAP Kinase-Dependent Pathways in Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells: JNK1, P38 Kinase, and Cell Death. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(3):1320-1329. doi: 10.1167/iovs.02-0519.
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purpose. Retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell death is an important step in the pathogenesis of ocular diseases. JNK1 and P38 kinase, two stress-activated kinases, play key roles relaying stress signals leading to cell death through cyclin D1 and c-Myc. Recently, stress-activated kinases have been shown to regulate cell proliferation. In the current study, the involvement of the JNK1 and P38 kinase signaling pathways in RPE cell proliferation and death was investigated.
methods. RPE cell proliferation was stimulated with 10% fetal calf serum (FCS). Activation of the JNK1 and P38 kinase cascades and their potential targets was detected by Western blot analysis. Pharmacologic inhibitors and activators, and antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) directed against the stress kinases were used to analyze the signaling involved in RPE cell death.
results. P38 and JNK1 and their respective upstream activating kinases, MKK3/6 and -4, were all transiently activated in FCS-stimulated RPE cell cultures. Ras controlled only the activation of JNK1, whereas Rho transmitted the activation of both JNK1 and P38, suggesting parallel signaling pathways and cross talk between the two kinases. Pharmacologic inhibition of JNK1 did not affect cell proliferation in FCS-stimulated cells. Inactivation of P38 kinase and antisense ODN-induced downregulation of P38 kinase also had no affect on cell proliferation. Long-term, high-level activation of JNK1 and P38 kinase occurred during serum depletion-induced RPE cell death. Overactivation of JNK1 and P38 kinase was also observed during pharmacologically induced cell death, suggesting that this process is common to RPE cell-death-signaling pathways induced by various stress stimuli. Cell death mediated by the overactivation of JNK1 and P38 kinase was cyclin D1- and c-Myc-independent.
conclusions. The inhibition of JNK1 or P38 kinase had no effect on FCS-stimulated proliferation of RPE cells, whereas the overactivation of these two enzymes was involved in RPE cell death in FCS-depleted cultures. Parallel upstream signaling pathways and cross talk between the two kinases suggest that the regulation of signaling in RPE cell death is complex.
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