Protein kinase C activation and its role in kidney disease (Review Article)

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SUMMARYProtein kinase C (PKC) comprises a superfamily of isoenzymes, many of which are activated by cofactors such as diacylglycerol and phosphatidylserine. In order to be capable of activation, PKC must first undergo a series of phosphorylations. In turn, activated PKC phosphorylates a wide variety of intracellular target proteins and has multiple functions in signal transduced cellular regulation. A role for PKC activation had been noted in several renal diseases, but two that have had most investigation are diabetic nephropathy and kidney cancer. In diabetic nephropathy, an elevation in diacylglycerol and/or other cofactor stimulants leads to an increase in activity of certain PKC isoforms, changes that are linked to the development of dysfunctional vasculature. The ability of isoform-specific PKC inhibitors to antagonize diabetes-induced vascular disease is a new avenue for treatment of this disorder. In the development and progressive invasiveness of kidney cancer, increased activity of several specific isoforms of PKC has been noted. It is thought that this may promote the kidney cancer's inherent resistance to apoptosis, in natural regression or after treatments, or it may promote the invasiveness of renal cancers via cellular differentiation pathways. In general, however, a more complete understanding of the functions of individual PKC isoforms in the kidney, and development or recognition of specific inhibitors or promoters of their activation, will be necessary to apply this knowledge for treatment of cellular dysregulation in renal disease.

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