Modulation of Kit/stem cell factor receptor-induced signaling by protein kinase C.
The Kit/stem cell factor receptor (Kit/SCF-R) is a transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor of importance for the normal development of hemopoietic cells, melanoblasts, and germ cells. We recently reported that protein kinase C (PKC) is involved in a negative feedback loop regulating the Kit/SCF-R by direct phosphorylation on serine residues in the receptor. Inhibition of PKC led to increased SCF-induced tyrosine kinase activity and mitogenicity, but PKC was necessary for SCF-induced motility. In this report we have further examined the modulatory role of PKC on SCF-induced signaling. The ligand-activated Kit/SCF-R associated weakly with GRB2 and induced only little tyrosine phosphorylation of phospholipase C-gamma in porcine aortic endothelial cells transfected with Kit/SCF-R. In contrast, the SCF-stimulated Kit/SCF-R associated efficiently with, and induced tyrosine phosphorylation of, the p85 alpha regulatory subunit of phosphatidyl inositide-3'-kinase (PI-3'-kinase). Both receptor association and tyrosine phosphorylation of p85 alpha were increased after inhibition of PKC, while its serine phosphorylation was decreased. Concomitantly, the specific activity of receptor-associated PI-3'-kinase activity was increased. Inhibition of PI-3'-kinase with wortmannin inhibited SCF-induced mitogenicity. SCF-induced phosphorylation of Raf-1 and activation of ERK2 still occurred after PKC inhibition but was not increased. In conclusion, SCF-induced PI-3'-kinase activation paralleled the increased SCF-induced mitogenicity after inhibition of PKC.