Expression of a constitutively activated mutant of the beta-isozyme of protein kinase C in cardiac myocytes stimulates the promoter of the beta-myosin heavy chain isogene.

  1. K Kariya,
  2. L R Karns and
  3. P C Simpson
  1. Division of Cardiology and Research Service, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California 94121.


    Cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes express at least three isozymes of protein kinase C (PKC), and two PKC isozymes are translocated to different intracellular sites on activation with alpha 1-adrenergic agonists or phorbol myristate acetate. Differential intracellular localization upon activation was compatible with differential function, and we therefore asked whether PKC isozymes had distinct roles in regulating transcription of the cardiac myosin heavy chain (MHC) genes. Cardiac myocytes were transfected with chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter plasmids containing the promoters of the beta-MHC or alpha-MHC isogenes. An alpha 1-adrenergic agonist stimulated the beta-MHC promoter by 3-fold but had no effect on the alpha-MHC promoter. This pattern of MHC promoter regulation by an alpha 1 agonist was the same as that found previously for the endogenous MHC mRNAs in this model system. Myocytes were then co-transfected with the beta- or alpha-MHC-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase plasmids and expression plasmids encoding wild-type or constitutively activated mutants of the alpha- and beta-isozymes of PKC. Co-transfection with wild-type alpha-PKC or wild-type beta-PKC did not stimulate the beta-MHC promoter, and none of the expressed PKCs affected the alpha-MHC promoter. However, the constitutively activated mutant of beta-PKC stimulated the beta-MHC promoter by 8-fold, whereas stimulation by the activated alpha-PKC mutant was only 40% as great (3-fold). In contrast, the constitutively activated alpha-PKC and beta-PKC mutants were equally potent in stimulating a reporter plasmid containing AP-1 recognition sequences. All transfected PKCs were expressed equally in the myocytes, as judged by immunofluorescence. These data indicate that transcription of the beta-MHC isogene is stimulated preferentially by beta-PKC in cardiac myocytes and provide direct evidence for differential functions of alpa-PKC and beta-PKC in transcriptional regulation.

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