Epidermal growth factor and angiotensin II regulation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase in rat liver epithelial WB cells

Biochem Pharmacol. 1999 Feb 15;57(4):425-32. doi: 10.1016/s0006-2952(98)00308-6.


Activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) is considered essential for mitogenesis. In the present study, rat liver epithelial WB cells were used to investigate the relative roles of Ca2+, protein kinase C (PKC), and protein tyrosine phosphorylation in mitogenesis and activation of the ERK pathway stimulated by epidermal growth factor (EGF) and angiotensin II (Ang II). The sensitivity of the ERK pathway to Ca2+ was studied by using 1,2-bis (O-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (BAPTA) to chelate intracellular Ca2+ and a low extracellular Ca2+ concentration to prevent Ca2+ influx. Agonist-induced PKC activation was diminished by inhibition of PKC by GF-109203X (bisindolylmaleimide) or by down-regulation of PKC by long-term treatment of the cells with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA). Our results show that although activation of PKC was critical for mitogenesis induced by Ang II or EGF, the initial activation of ERK by both agonists in these cells was essentially independent of PKC activation and was insensitive to Ca2+ mobilization. This is in contrast to the findings in some cell types that exhibit a marked dependency on mobilization of Ca2+ and/or PKC activation. On the other hand, an obligatory tyrosine phosphorylation step for activation of ERK was indicated by the use of protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which profoundly inhibited the activation of ERK by EGF, Ang II, and PMA. Additional experiments indicated that tyrosine phosphorylation by a cytosolic tyrosine kinase may represent a general mechanism for G-protein coupled receptor mediated ERK activation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin II / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Egtazic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Epidermal Growth Factor / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Genistein / pharmacology
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases*
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Rats


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II
  • Egtazic Acid
  • Epidermal Growth Factor
  • Genistein
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid
  • Calcium