Phospholipase Cγ (PLCγ) expression and activation by a purinergic agonist were investigated in adult rat cardiomyocytes. PLCγ is expressed in isolated cardiomyocytes. Stimulation of cells with extracellular ATP induces a rapid increase in membrane-associated PLCγ immunoreactivity most probably due to redistribution of the lipase from the cytosol to the membrane. The purine triggers a significant phosphorylation on tyrosine residues of a cytosolic pool of PLCγ with a time course that correlates with that of translocation. Extracellular ATP also increases intracellular Ins(1,4,5)P3 content. All these events (translocation and phosphorylation of PLCγ, InsP3 formation) are blocked by genistein, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. The purinergic effect on both PLCγ translocation and phosphorylation are Ca-sensitive. We thus propose that the purinergic stimulation activates a non-receptor tyrosine kinase that phosphorylates PLCγ in the presence of an increased Ca level and induces PLCγ redistribution to the membrane. There, PLCγ becomes activated leading to the hydrolysis of phosphatidylinositol diphosphate and in turn Ins(1,4,5)P3 formation. This cascade of events may play a significant role in the induction of arrhythmogenesis by purinergic agonists.

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