Novel Nongenomic Signaling by Glucocorticoid May Involve Changes to Liver Membrane Order in Rainbow

Abstract

Stress-induced glucocorticoid elevation is a highly conserved response among vertebrates. This facilitates stress adaptation and the mode of action involves activation of the intracellular glucocorticoid receptor leading to the modulation of target gene expression. However, this genomic effect is slow acting and, therefore, a role for glucocorticoid in the rapid response to stress is unclear. Here we show that stress levels of cortisol, the primary glucocorticoid in teleosts, rapidly fluidizes rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) liver plasma membranes in vitro. This involved incorporation of the steroid into the lipid domains, as cortisol coupled to a membrane impermeable peptide moiety, did not affect membrane order. Studies confirmed that cortisol, but not sex steroids, increases liver plasma membrane fluidity. Atomic force microscopy revealed cortisol-mediated changes to membrane surface topography and viscoelasticity confirming changes to membrane order. Treating trout hepatocytes with stress levels of cortisol led to the modulation of cell signaling pathways, including the phosphorylation status of putative PKA, PKC and AKT substrate proteins within 10 minutes. The phosphorylation by protein kinases in the presence of cortisol was consistent with that seen with benzyl alcohol, a known membrane fluidizer. Our results suggest that biophysical changes to plasma membrane properties, triggered by stressor-induced glucocorticoid elevation, act as a nonspecific stress response and may rapidly modulate acute stress-signaling pathways

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oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.772.1097Last time updated on 10/30/2017

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