RNA suppression of ERK2 leads to collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential with acute oxidative stress in human lens epithelial cells.

Flynn JM, Lannigan DA, Clark DE, Garner MH, Cammarata PR
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 294 (3): E589-99

PMID: 18171912 · DOI:10.1152/ajpendo.00705.2007

17beta-Estradiol (E(2)) reduces oxidative stress-induced depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) in cultured human lens epithelial cells (HLE-B3). The mechanism by which the nongenomic effects of E(2) contributed to the protection against mitochondrial membrane depolarization was investigated. Mitochondrial membrane integrity is regulated by phosphorylation of BAD, and it is known that phosphorylation of Ser(112) inactivates BAD and prevents its participation in the mitochondrial death pathway. We found that E(2) rapidly increased both the phosphorylation of ERK2 and Ser(112) in BAD. Ser(112) is phosphorylated by p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK), a Ser/Thr kinase, which is a downstream effector of ERK1/2. Inhibition of RSK by the RSK-specific inhibitor SL0101 did not reduce the level of E(2)-induced phosphorylation of Ser(112). Silencing BAD using small interfering RNA did not alter mitochondrial membrane depolarization elicited by peroxide insult. However, under the same conditions, silencing ERK2 dramatically increased membrane depolarization compared with the control small interfering RNA. Therefore, ERK2, functioning through a BAD-independent mechanism regulates MMP in humans lens epithelial cells. We propose that estrogen-induced activation of ERK2 acts to protect cells from acute oxidative stress. Moreover, despite the fact that ERK2 plays a regulatory role in mitochondrial membrane potential, estrogen was found to block mitochondrial membrane depolarization via an ERK-independent mechanism.

MeSH Terms (14)

bcl-Associated Death Protein Cell Line Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases Enzyme Activation Epithelial Cells Estradiol Humans Lens, Crystalline Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 Oxidative Stress Phosphorylation RNA, Small Interfering Serine

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