A wealth of information has suggested the involvement of protein kinase C (PKC) in metamorphosis of Hydractinia echinata and in pattern formation of Hydra magnipapillata. We have identified a Ca2+- and phospholipid-dependent kinase activity in extracts of both species. The enzyme was characterized as being similar to mammalian PKC by ion exchange chromatography. Gel filtration experiments revealed a molecular weight of about 70 kD. In phosphorylation assays of endogenous Hydractinia proteins, a protein with a molecular weight of 22.5 kD was found to be phoshorylated upon addition of phosphatidylserine. Bacterial induction of metamorphosis of Hydractinia echinata caused an increase in endogenous diacylglycerol, the physiological activator of PKC, suggesting that the bacterial inducer acts by activating receptor-regulated phospholipid metabolism. Exogenous diacylglycerol leads to membrane translocation of PKC, indicative of an activation. On the basis of our results and those of Freeman and Ridgway (1990) a model for the biochemical events during metamorphosis is presented.
Keywords: Hydra magnipapillata; Hydractinia echinata; Metamorphosis; Pattern formation; Protein kinase C.
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