Basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) induces cell proliferation and plasminogen activator (PA) activity in transformed fetal bovine aortic endothelial (FBAE) GM 7373 cells. A similar response is observed after treatment with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). In these cells, bFGF and TPA cause activation of protein kinase C (PKC), as demonstrated by the induction of the phosphorylation of an 87-kD PKC substrate in intact cells and by the increase in membrane-associated PKC activity. Activation of PKC by bFGF or TPA is inhibited in cells made PKC-deficient by pretreatment with high concentrations of TPA. The mitogenic activity of bFGF or of TPA is completely inhibited in PKC-deficient cells or in naive cells treated with the PKC inhibitor H-7. However, these cells proliferate in response to serum, epidermal growth factor, and dibutyryl cyclic AMP. Similar results are obtained in normal FBAE AG 7680 cells. These data indicate that activation of PKC is responsible for the mitogenic activity of bFGF in FBAE cells. On the contrary, the PA-inducing activity of bFGF is unaffected by down-regulation of PKC or by treatment with the PKC inhibitor H-7 in both transformed GM 7373 and normal AG 7680 cells. bFGF induces a rapid 45Ca influx in naive and in PKC-deprived GM 7373 cells. In these cells, addition of EGTA to the incubation medium prevents both the 45Ca influx and the increase in PA activity induced by bFGF, without affecting its mitogenic activity. Even though the involvement of PKC in the increase of cell-associated PA activity induced by bFGF can not be completely dismissed, the present results suggest a role of calcium entry in the modulation of the PA-inducing activity of bFGF.

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