Functional proteomic analysis of a three-tier PKCepsilon-Akt-eNOS signaling module in cardiac protection

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Feb;288(2):H954-61. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00756.2004. Epub 2004 Nov 4.


Cardiac protective signaling networks have been shown to involve PKCepsilon. However, the molecular mechanisms by which PKCepsilon interacts with other members of these networks to form task-specific modules remain unknown. Among 93 different PKCepsilon-associated proteins that have been identified, Akt and endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase (eNOS) are of importance because of their independent abilities to promote cell survival and prevent cell death. The simultaneous association of PKCepsilon, Akt, and eNOS has not been examined, and, in particular, the formation of a module containing these three proteins and the role of such a module in the regulation of NO production and cardiac protection are unknown. The present study was undertaken to determine whether these molecules form a signaling module and, thereby, play a collective role in cardiac signaling. Using recombinant proteins in vitro and PKCepsilon transgenic mouse hearts, we demonstrate the following: 1) PKCepsilon, Akt, and eNOS interact and form signaling modules in vitro and in the mouse heart. Activation of either PKCepsilon or Akt enhances the formation of PKCepsilon-Akt-eNOS signaling modules. 2) PKCepsilon directly phosphorylates and enhances activation of Akt in vitro, and PKCepsilon activation increases phosphorylation and activation of Akt in PKCepsilon transgenic mouse hearts. 3) PKCepsilon directly phosphorylates eNOS in vitro, and this phosphorylation enhances eNOS activity. Activation of PKCepsilon in vivo increased phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser(1177), indicating eNOS activation. This study characterizes, for the first time, the physical, as well as functional, coupling of PKCepsilon, Akt, and eNOS in the heart and implicates these PKCepsilon-Akt-eNOS signaling modules as critical signaling elements during PKCepsilon-induced cardiac protection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardium / cytology
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / enzymology*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / genetics
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinase C / genetics
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase C-epsilon
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Nos3 protein, mouse
  • Prkce protein, mouse
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Kinase C-epsilon