Activation of 70‐kDa S6 kinase, induced by the cytokines interleukin‐3 and erythropoietin and inhibited by rapamycin, is not an absolute requirement for cell proliferation

Victor Calvo, Michael Wood, Carl Gjertson, Terry Vik, Barbara E. Bierer

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43 Scopus citations


The cytokines interleukin (IL)-3 and erythropoietin (EPO) are critical regulators of the proliferation and differentiation of cells of the hematopoietic system, but their intracellular mechanisms of action are not fully understood. Binding of IL-3 to the IL-3 receptor (IL-3R) and binding of EPO to the EPOR both induce changes in intracellular tyrosine and serine/threonine phosphorylation: the phosphorylation of a number of polypeptides appears to be a shared response upon cytokine stimulation. We have previously shown that binding of IL-2 to the IL-2R activates the 70-kDa (p70) S6 kinase, a serine/threonine kinase whose activity is regulated by serine/threonine phosphorylation: the immunosuppressant rapamycin inhibits IL-2-dependent proliferation and IL-2-triggered activation of p70 S6 kinase. We therefore, sought to examine whether induction of p70 S6 kinase activity is a conserved response upon cytokine triggering, and whether this activity is essential for cell proliferation. Proliferation of the IL-3-dependent pro-B cell line Ba/F3 transfected with the EPOR (Ba/F3-EPOR) can be supported by either IL-3 or EPO. In this cell line, both IL-3 and EPO induced p70 S6 kinase activity; rapamycin inhibited both the IL-3 and EPO-induced activation of the 70-kDa S6 kinase as well as cellular proliferation. Thus, p70 S6 kinase activation appears to be a common intermediate triggered by the stimulation of IL-3 EPO, and IL-2 receptors. The Friend spleen focus-forming virus gp55 renders the EPOR constitutively active, and confers growth factor independence on cells expressing EPOR. Ba/F3-EPOR cotransfected with gp55 (Ba/F3-EpoRgp55) and the erythroleukemia cell line MEL, which also expresses both the EPOR and gp55, were analyzed. Rapamycin inhibited the activation of p70 S6 kinase in both cell lines. However, rapamycin inhibited proliferation of Ba/F3-EpoRgp55 but not of MEL cells despite inhibition of p70 S6 kinase activity in both cells. Thus, p70 S6 kinase activation is not an absolute requirement for cell proliferation. These results are discussed in relation to the role of the activation of the 70-kDa S6 kinase activation pathway in the regulation of cell cycle progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2664-2671
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1994



  • Cytokines
  • Proliferation
  • Protein kinases
  • Rapamycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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