One of the early events after stimulation of Swiss 3T3 cells with either platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), diacylglycerol, or several other mitogens is the near stoichiometric phosphorylation at tyrosine and serine of a scarce cytoplasmic protein (p42). TPA and diacylglycerol are known to directly stimulate the activity of a protein-serine/threonine kinase, protein kinase C (PKC). PDGF and several other mitogens stimulate tyrosine kinases directly and PKC indirectly. We have therefore examined the involvement of PKC in p42 tyrosine phosphorylation in Swiss 3T3 cells. Firstly, six agents which stimulated phosphorylation of p42 also stimulated phosphorylation of a known PKC substrate, an 80,000-Mr protein (p80). Secondly, in PKC-deficient cells (cells in which PKC activity was reduced to undetectable levels by prolonged exposure to TPA), PDGF-induced p42 phosphorylation was reduced three- to fourfold. Phosphoamino acid analysis of phosphorylated p42 from PDGF-stimulated PKC-deficient cells revealed primarily phosphoserine and only a trace of phosphotyrosine, suggesting that the reduction in PDGF-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of p42 resulting from PKC deficiency is greater than three- to fourfold. Finally, comparison of antiphosphotyrosine immunoprecipitates of PKC-deficient versus naive cells revealed that most other PDGF-induced tyrosine phosphorylation events were quite similar. These data suggest that mitogens such as PDGF, which directly stimulate phosphorylation of some proteins at tyrosine, induce p42 tyrosine phosphorylation via a cascade of events involving PKC.

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