These experiments tested the hypothesis that signalling elements involved in the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) mediate rapid activation of sodium-proton exchange (NHE) in fibroblasts when both signals are initiated by a single G protein-coupled receptor, the 5-HT1A receptor. Similarities between the two processes were comparable concentration-response curves and time-courses, and overlapping sensitivity to some pharmacological inhibitors of tyrosine kinases (staurosporine and genistein), and phosphoinositide 3ʹ-kinase (wortmannin and LY204002). Activation of NHE was much more sensitive to the phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase inhibitor (D609) than was ERK. Neither pathway was sensitive to manoeuvres designed to block PKC. In contrast, Src or related kinases appear to be required to activate ERK, but not NHE. Transfection of cDNA constructs encoding inactive mutant phosphoinositide 3ʹ-kinase, Grb2, Sos, Ras, and Raf molecules were successful in attenuating ERK, but had essentially no effect upon NHE activation. Finally, PD98059, an inhibitor of mitogen activated/extracellular signal regulated kinase kinase, blocked ERK but not NHE activation. Thus, in CHO fibroblast cells, activation by the 5-HT1A receptor of ERK and NHE share a number of overlapping features. However, our studies do not support a major role for ERK, when activated by the 5-HT1A receptor, as a short-term upstream regulator of NHE activity.

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