Protein kinase C in the immune system: from signalling to chromatin regulation

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Abstract

Summary

Protein kinase C (PKC) form a key family of enzymes involved in signalling pathways that specifically phosphorylates substrates at serine/threonine residues. Phosphorylation by PKC is important in regulating a variety of cellular events such as cell proliferation and the regulation of gene expression. In the immune system, PKCs are involved in regulating signal transduction pathways important for both innate and adaptive immunity, ultimately resulting in the expression of key immune genes. PKCs act as mediators during immune cell signalling through the immunological synapse. PKCs are traditionally known to be cytoplasmic signal transducers and are well embedded in the signalling pathways of cells to mediate the cells' response to a stimulus from the plasma membrane to the nucleus. PKCs are also found to transduce signals within the nucleus, a process that is distinct from the cytoplasmic signalling pathway. There is now growing evidence suggesting that PKC can directly regulate gene expression programmes through a non-traditional role as nuclear kinases. In this review, we will focus on the role of PKCs as key cytoplasmic signal transducers in immune cell signalling, as well as its role in nuclear signal transduction. We will also highlight recent evidence for its newly discovered regulatory role in the nucleus as a chromatin-associated kinase.

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