Phospholipase D (PLD) is activated by a variety of stimuli, including mitogenic stimulation by growth factors and oncogene transformation. Activation of PLD by growth factors requires protein kinase C (PKC) since depletion of the enzyme by down-regulation or direct inhibition by specific drugs completely abrogates this effect. Transformation by the rasand srconcogenes is also associated with an increase in basal PLD activity. However, this effect is not dependent on PKC, suggesting that growth factors and oncogenes may activate PLD by two independent mechanisms. Here we demonstrate that activation of PLD by phorbol esters is greatly enhanced in ras-transformed cells, suggesting synergistic activation of PLD by ras oncogenes and PKC. Also, ras-transformed cells showed a dramatic attenuation of the PLD activation induced by growth factors, although receptor function was still detectable. This attenuation paralleled the specific uncoupling of the phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) pathway, indicating that activation of PLD by growth factors may be mediated by PI-PLC and PKC activation. Attenuation of PLD activation by platelet-derived growth factor was also observed in several oncogene-transformed cells, as well as the uncoupling of the PI-PLC pathway. Neither the co-operation with PKC activation nor the attenuation of the PLD response to growth factors in ras-transformed cells was a general consequence of cell transformation, since cells transformed by other oncogenes showed a normal response to either treatment. These results support the existence of at least two alternative signalling routes for the activation of PLD, one mediated by the PI-PLC/diacylglycerol/PKC pathway and a second one mediated by several oncogenes, independent of the PKC pathway, which synergizes with the PI-PLC/PKC-dependent pathway.

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