Previously, we reported that TGF-beta2 regulates the C3 gene expression in a dose- and time-dependent manner in monocytes. To extend these studies, we examined the role of PKC in the TGF-beta2-mediated induction of C3 expression by the human monocyte cell line, U937. Treatment of U937 cells with the PKC inhibitors, H7 and calphostin C, suppressed TGF-beta2-mediated induction of C3 protein levels, but not mRNA levels, in a dose-dependent manner. At the highest concentrations of H7 and calphostin C, C3 protein levels were inhibited 50% and 93%, respectively, compared to control levels. Treatment of U937 cells with HA1004, a weak PKC inhibitor used as a control for H7, did not inhibit induction of C3 protein levels. Down-modulating PKC with a prolonged exposure of U937 cells to PMA also suppressed TGF-beta2-mediated C3 protein induction by as much as 82%. Incubating cell extracts isolated from TGF-beta2-treated U937 cells with the PKC substrate, MIBP(4-14), resulted in increased substrate phosphorylation compared to cell extracts isolated from untreated cells. Addition of calphostin C suppressed the increased substrate phosphorylation by TGF-beta2. Furthermore, biosynthetic labeling of U937 cells treated with TGF-beta2 and calphostin C demonstrated an accumulation of C3 protein within cell lysates compared to controls. Collectively, these studies suggest a role for PKC in the secretion of C3 protein during TGF-beta2-mediated regulation of C3 expression in U937 cells.