We have previously shown that interleukin 1 (IL-1)-receptor-generated ceramide induces growth arrest in smooth muscle pericytes by activating an upstream kinase in the stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK) cascade. We now report the mechanism by which ceramide activates the SAPK signaling pathway in human embryonic kidney cells (HEK-293). We demonstrate that ceramide activation of protein kinase C ζ (PKCζ) mediates SAPK signal complex formation and subsequent growth suppression. Ceramide directly activates both immunoprecipitated and recombinant human PKCζ in vitro. Additionally, ceramide activates SAPK activity, which is blocked with a dominant-negative mutant of PKCζ. Coimmunoprecipitation studies reveal that ceramide induces the association of SAPK with PKCζ, but not with PKCε. In addition, ceramide treatment induces PKCζ association with phosphorylated SEK and MEKK1, elements of the SAPK signaling complex. The biological role of ceramide to induce cell cycle arrest is mimicked by overexpression of a constitutively active PKCζ. Together, these studies demonstrate that ceramide induces cell cycle arrest by enhancing the ability of PKCζ to form a signaling complex with MEKK1, SEK, and SAPK.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology