The microfilament-disrupting agent cytochalasin D (CD) increased (by 10-22-fold) the synthesis de novo and extracellular matrix deposition of plasminogen-activator inhibitor type-1 [p52(PAI-1)] in normal rat kidney (NRK) cells. Transition from a flat to a round phenotype occurred concomitantly with, and may actually precede, p52(PAI-1) induction; both the morphological and p52(PAI-1) responses were dose-dependent. Augmented synthesis became evident between 4 and 5 h of treatment of NRK cells with 100 microM-CD, correlating with a transition from 25 to more than 60% rounded cells. CD-associated increases in p52(PAI-1) mRNA abundance and protein biosynthesis were maximal between 6 and 8 h of continuous CD exposure, declined by 50% thereafter, but remained elevated (by at least 6-21-fold respectively over control values) for 24 h. Changes in p52(PAI-1) mRNA abundance at this 24 h point reflected an approx. 5-fold increase in p52(PAI-1)-gene transcription. These data confirm previous suggestions, based on actinomycin D-sensitivity of the inductive response [Higgins & Ryan (1992) Biochem. J. 284, 433-439], that CD-mediated increases in p52(PAI-1) expression are at least partly due to transcription-level events. Since CD also augments specific cellular responses to growth factors or cytokines, the potential effectiveness of this inducer was evaluated both in the presence and absence of serum growth factors using quiescent NRK cells [a growth state in which p52(PAI-1) is not expressed] as a model system. Induction of p52(PAI-1) synthesis and matrix deposition in CD-stimulated quiescent NRK cells was as efficient under growth-factor-deficient conditions as when CD was added simultaneously with serum. CD alone is thus a complete inducer of p52(PAI-1) expression in NRK cells, an observation that supports the contention that cell shape is an important regulatory element in p52(PAI-1)-gene control.

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