Tyrosine phosphorylation of protein kinase Cδ is essential for its apoptotic effect in response to etoposide

M. Blass, I. Kronfeld, G. Kazimirsky, P. M. Blumberg, C. Brodie

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174 Scopus citations


Protein kinase Cδ (PKCδ) is involved in the apoptosis of various cells in response to diverse stimuli. In this study, we characterized the role of PKCδ in the apoptosis of C6 glioma cells in response to etoposide. We found that etoposide induced apoptosis in the C6 cells within 24 to 48 h and arrested the cells in the G1/S phase of the cell cycle. Overexpression of PKCδ increased the apoptotic effect induced by etoposide, whereas the PKCδ selective inhibitor rottlerin and the PKCδ dominant-negative mutant K376R reduced this effect compared to control cells. Etoposide-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of PKCδ and its translocation to the nucleus within 3 h was followed by caspase-dependent cleavage of the enzyme. Using PKC chimeras, we found that both the regulatory and catalytic domains of PKCδ were necessary for its apoptotic effect. The role of tyrosine phosphorylation of PKCδ in the effects of etoposide was examined using cells overexpressing a PKCδ mutant in which five tyrosine residues were mutated to phenylalanine (PKCδ5). These cells exhibited decreased apoptosis in response to etoposide compared to cells overexpressing PKCδ. Likewise, activation of caspase 3 and the cleavage of the PKCδ5 mutant were significantly lower in cells overexpressing PKCδ5. Using mutants of PKCδ altered at individual tyrosine residues, we identified tyrosine 64 and tyrosine 187 as important phosphorylation sites in the apoptotic effect induced by etoposide. Our results suggest a role of PKCδ in the apoptosis induced by etoposide and implicate tyrosine phosphorylation of PKCδ as an important regulator of this effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-195
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2002


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