Mesangial cell (MC) mitogenesis is regulated through "negative cross talk" between cAMP-PKA and ERK signaling. Although it is widely accepted that cAMP inhibits mitogenesis through PKA-mediated phosphorylation of Raf-1, recent studies have indicated that cAMP-mediated inhibition of mitogenesis may occur independently of Raf-1 phosphorylation or without inhibiting ERK activity. We previously showed that MCs possess functionally compartmentalized intracellular pools of cAMP that are differentially regulated by cAMP phosphodiesterases (PDE); an intracellular pool directed by PDE3 but not by PDE4 suppresses mitogenesis. We therefore sought to determine whether there was a differential effect of PDE3 vs. PDE4 inhibitors on the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK pathway in cultured MC. Although PDE3 and PDE4 inhibitors activated PKA and modestly elevated cAMP levels to a similar extent, only PDE3 inhibitors suppressed MC mitogenesis (-57%) and suppressed Raf-1 kinase and ERK activity (-33 and -68%, respectively). Both PDE3 and PDE4 inhibitors suppressed B-Raf kinase activity. PDE3 inhibitors increased phosphorylation of Raf-1 on serine 43 and serine 259 and decreased phosphorylation on serine 338; PDE4 inhibitors were without effect. Overexpression of a constitutively active MEK-1 construct reversed the antiproliferative effect of PDE3 inhibitors. PDE3 inhibitors also reduced cyclin A levels (-27%), cyclin D and cyclin E kinase activity (-30 and -50%, respectively), and induced expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 (+90%). We conclude that the antiproliferative effects of PDE3 inhibitors are mechanistically related to inhibition of the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK pathway. Additional cell cycle targets of PDE3 inhibitors include cyclin A, cyclin D, cyclin E, and p21.
- Cyclin E
- Mitogen-activated protein kinase
- Protein kinase A
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