A novel antiproliferative PKCα-Ras-ERK signaling axis in intestinal epithelial cells

Navneet Kaur, Michelle A. Lum, Robert E. Lewis, Adrian R. Black, Jennifer D. Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that the serine/threonine kinase PKCα triggers MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK)-dependent G1→S cell cycle arrest in intestinal epithelial cells, characterized by downregulation of cyclin D1 and inhibitor of DNA-binding protein 1 (Id1) and upregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21Cip1. Here, we use pharmacological inhibitors, genetic approaches, siRNA-mediated knockdown, and immunoprecipitation to further characterize antiproliferative ERK signaling in intestinal cells. We show that PKCα signaling intersects the Ras-Raf-MEK-ERK kinase cascade at the level of Ras small GTPases and that antiproliferative effects of PKCα require active Ras, Raf, MEK, and ERK, core ERK pathway components that are also essential for pro-proliferative ERK signaling induced by epidermal growth factor (EGF). However, PKCα-induced antiproliferative signaling differs from EGF signaling in that it is independent of the Ras guanine nucleotide exchange factors (Ras-GEFs), SOS1/2, and involves prolonged rather than transient ERK activation. PKCα forms complexes with A-Raf, B-Raf, and C-Raf that dissociate upon pathway activation, and all three Raf isoforms can mediate PKCα-induced antiproliferative effects. At least two PKCα–ERK pathways that collaborate to promote growth arrest were identified: one pathway requiring the Ras-GEF, RasGRP3, and H-Ras, leads to p21Cip1 upregulation, while additional pathway(s) mediate PKCα-induced cyclin D1 and Id1 downregulation. PKCα also induces ERK-dependent SOS1 phosphorylation, indicating possible negative crosstalk between antiproliferative and growth-promoting ERK signaling. Importantly, the spatiotemporal activation of PKCα and ERK in the intestinal epithelium in vivo supports the physiological relevance of these pathways and highlights the importance of antiproliferative ERK signaling to tissue homeostasis in the intestine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102121
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2022


  • EGF
  • ERK
  • H-Ras protein
  • Id1
  • PKCα
  • Raf kinase
  • RasGRP3
  • cyclin D1
  • growth arrest
  • p21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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