Protein kinase C (PKC) is implied in the activation of multiple targets of erythropoietin (Epo) signaling, but its exact role in Epo receptor (EpoR) signal transduction and in the regulation of erythroid proliferation and differentiation remained elusive. We analyzed the effect of PKC inhibitors with distinct modes of action on EpoR signaling in primary human erythroblasts and in a recently established murine erythroid cell line. Active PKC appeared essential for Epo-induced phosphorylation of the Epo receptor itself, STAT5, Gab1, Erk1/2, AKT, and other downstream targets. Under the same conditions, stem cell factor-induced signal transduction was not impaired. LY294002, a specific inhibitor of phosphoinositol 3-kinase, also suppressed Epo-induced signal transduction, which could be partially relieved by activators of PKC. PKC inhibitors or LY294002 did not affect membrane expression of the EpoR, the association of JAK2 with the EpoR, or the in vitro kinase activity of JAK2. The data suggest that PKC controls EpoR signaling instead of being a downstream effector. PKC and phosphoinositol 3-kinase may act in concert to regulate association of the EpoR complex such that it is responsive to ligand stimulation. Reduced PKC-activity inhibited Epo-dependent differentiation, although it did not effect Epo-dependent "renewal divisions" induced in the presence of Epo, stem cell factor, and dexamethasone.

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Journal of Biological Chemistry
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

von Lindern, M., Parren-Van Amelsvoort, M., van Dijk, T., Deiner, E., Löwenberg, B., van den Akker, E., … Beug, H. (2000). Protein kinase C alpha controls erythropoietin receptor signaling. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 34719–34727. doi:10.1074/jbc.M007042200