Akt activation induced by lysophosphatidic acid and sphingosine-1-phosphate requires both mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and is cell-line specific

Linnea M. Baudhuin, Kelly L. Cristina, Jun Lu, Yan Xu

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91 Scopus citations


The signaling pathways that lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) and sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) use to activate Akt in ovarian cancer cells are investigated here. We show for the first time, with the use of both pharmacological and genetic inhibitors, that the kinase activity and S473 phosphorylation of Akt induced by LPA and S1P requires both mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase kinase (MEK) and p38 MAP kinase, and MEK is likely to be upstream of p38, in HEY ovarian cancer cells. The requirement for both MEK and p38 is cell type- and stimulus-specific. Among 12 cell lines that we tested, 11 respond to LPA and S1P and all of the responsive cell lines require p38 but only nine of them require MEK. Among different stimuli tested, platelet-derived growth factor stimulates S473 phosphorylation of Akt in a MEK- and p38-dependent manner. However, epidermal growth factor, thrombin, and endothelin-1-stimulated Akt S473 phosphorylation require p38 but not MEK. Insulin, on the other hand, stimulates Akt S473 phosphorylation independent of both MEK and p38 in HEY cells. T308 phosphorylation stimulated by LPA/S1P requires MEK but not p38 activation. MEK and p38 activation were sufficient for Akt S473 but not T308 phosphorylation in HEY cells. In contrast to S1P and PDGF, LPA requires Rho for Akt S473 phosphorylation, and Rho is upstream of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K). LPA/S1P-induced Akt activation may be involved in cell survival, because LPA and S1P treatment in HEY ovarian cancer cells results in a decrease in paclitaxel-induced caspase-3 activity in a PI3-K/MEK/p38-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-671
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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