The enigmatic protein kinase Cdelta: complex roles in cell proliferation and survival

FASEB J. 2004 Apr;18(6):627-36. doi: 10.1096/fj.03-0979rev.


Protein kinase Cdelta (PKCdelta) has been implicated both as a tumor suppressor and a positive regulator of cell cycle progression. PKCdelta has also been reported to positively and negatively regulate apoptotic programs. This has led to conflicting hypotheses on the role of PKCdelta in the control of cell proliferation and survival. Surprisingly, PKCdelta mice develop normally and are fertile, indicating that PKCdelta is not critical for normal cell proliferation during development. However, PKCdelta may play important roles in neoplastic cell proliferation. In this review, we have summarized the apparent multifunctional properties of this enigmatic protein with regard to its role in the regulation of cell cycle progression and cell survival. It is proposed that PKCdelta has both tumor suppressor and proliferation capabilities that can be recruited as a backup kinase for both gatekeeper tumor suppression and as an activator of the Ras/Raf/MEK/MAP kinase signaling pathway in cell proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase C / genetics
  • Protein Kinase C / physiology*
  • Protein Kinase C-delta
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / physiology
  • Tyrosine / metabolism


  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Tyrosine
  • Prkcd protein, mouse
  • PRKCD protein, human
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Kinase C-delta