98,832 research outputs found

    Suppression of Raf-1 kinase activity and MAP kinase signalling by RKIP

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    Raf-1 phosphorylates and activates MEK-1, a kinase that activates the extracellular signal regulated kinases (ERK). This kinase cascade controls the proliferation and differentiation of different cell types. Here we describe a Raf-1-interacting protein, isolated using a yeast two-hybrid screen. This protein inhibits the phosphorylation and activation of MEK by Raf-1 and is designated RKIP (Raf kinase inhibitor protein). In vitro, RKIP binds to Raf-1, MEK and ERK, but not to Ras. RKIP co-immunoprecipitates with Raf-1 and MEK from cell lysates and colocalizes with Raf-1 when examined by confocal microscopy. RKIP is not a substrate for Raf-1 or MEK, but competitively disrupts the interaction between these kinases. RKIP overexpression interferes with the activation of MEK and ERK, induction of AP-1-dependent reporter genes and transformation elicited by an oncogenically activated Raf-1 kinase. Downregulation of endogenous RKIP by expression of antisense RNA or antibody microinjection induces the activation of MEK-, ERK- and AP-1-dependent transcription. RKIP represents a new class of protein-kinase-inhibitor protein that regulates the activity of the Raf/MEK/ERK modul

    Computational modelling of cancerous mutations in the EGFR/ERK signalling pathway

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    This article has been made available through the Brunel Open Access Publishing Fund - Copyright @ 2009 Orton et al.BACKGROUND: The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) activated Extracellular-signal Regulated Kinase (ERK) pathway is a critical cell signalling pathway that relays the signal for a cell to proliferate from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. Deregulation of the EGFR/ERK pathway due to alterations affecting the expression or function of a number of pathway components has long been associated with numerous forms of cancer. Under normal conditions, Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) stimulates a rapid but transient activation of ERK as the signal is rapidly shutdown. Whereas, under cancerous mutation conditions the ERK signal cannot be shutdown and is sustained resulting in the constitutive activation of ERK and continual cell proliferation. In this study, we have used computational modelling techniques to investigate what effects various cancerous alterations have on the signalling flow through the ERK pathway. RESULTS: We have generated a new model of the EGFR activated ERK pathway, which was verified by our own experimental data. We then altered our model to represent various cancerous situations such as Ras, B-Raf and EGFR mutations, as well as EGFR overexpression. Analysis of the models showed that different cancerous situations resulted in different signalling patterns through the ERK pathway, especially when compared to the normal EGF signal pattern. Our model predicts that cancerous EGFR mutation and overexpression signals almost exclusively via the Rap1 pathway, predicting that this pathway is the best target for drugs. Furthermore, our model also highlights the importance of receptor degradation in normal and cancerous EGFR signalling, and suggests that receptor degradation is a key difference between the signalling from the EGF and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) receptors. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that different routes to ERK activation are being utilised in different cancerous situations which therefore has interesting implications for drug selection strategies. We also conducted a comparison of the critical differences between signalling from different growth factor receptors (namely EGFR, mutated EGFR, NGF, and Insulin) with our results suggesting the difference between the systems are large scale and can be attributed to the presence/absence of entire pathways rather than subtle difference in individual rate constants between the systems.This work was funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), under their Bioscience Beacon project programme. AG was funded by an industrial PhD studentship from Scottish Enterprise and Cyclacel

    Nitric oxide production by Biomphalaria glabrata haemocytes: effects of Schistosoma mansoni ESPs and regulation through the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway

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    BACKGROUND: Schistosoma mansoni uses Biomphalaria glabrata as an intermediate host during its complex life cycle. In the snail, the parasite initially transforms from a miracidium into a mother sporocyst and during this process excretory-secretory products (ESPs) are released. Nitric oxide (NO) and its reactive intermediates play an important role in host defence responses against pathogens. This study therefore aimed to determine the effects of S. mansoni ESPs on NO production in defence cells (haemocytes) from schistosome-susceptible and schistosome-resistant B. glabrata strains. As S. mansoni ESPs have previously been shown to inhibit extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation (activation) in haemocytes from susceptible, but not resistant, B. glabrata the regulation of NO output by ERK in these cells was also investigated. RESULTS: Haemocytes from resistant snails challenged with S. mansoni ESPs (20 mug/ml) over 5 h displayed an increase in NO production that was 3.3 times greater than that observed for unchallenged haemocytes; lower concentrations of ESPs (0.1-10 mug/ml) did not significantly increase NO output. In contrast, haemocytes from susceptible snails showed no significant change in NO output following challenge with ESPs at any concentration used (0.1-20 mug/ml). Western blotting revealed that U0126 (1 muM or 10 muM) blocked the phosphorylation (activation) status of ERK in haemocytes from both snail strains. Inhibition of ERK signalling by U0126 attenuated considerably intracellular NO production in haemocytes from both susceptible and resistant B. glabrata strains, identifying ERK as a key regulator of NO output in these cells. CONCLUSION: S. mansoni ESPs differentially influence intracellular NO levels in susceptible and resistant B. glabrata haemocytes, possibly through modulation of the ERK signalling pathway. Such effects might facilitate survival of S. mansoni in its intermediate host