Extracellular ATP and ADP, released from platelets and other sites stimulate the endothelial production of prostacyclin (PGI2) by acting on G-protein-coupled P2Y1 and P2Y2 purinoceptors, contributing to the maintenance of a non-thrombogenic surface. The mechanism, widely described as being dependent on elevated cytosolic [Ca2+], also requires protein tyrosine phosphorylation. Here we show that activation of both these P2 receptor types leads to the tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of both the p42 and p44 forms of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). 2-Methylthio-ATP and UTP, selectively activating P2Y1 and P2Y2 purinoceptors respectively, and ATP, a non-selective agonist at these two receptors, stimulate the tyrosine phosphorylation of both p42mapk and p44mapk, as revealed by Western blots with an antiserum specific for the tyrosine-phosphorylated forms of the enzymes. By using separation on Resource Q columns, peptide kinase activity associated with the phosphorylated MAPK enzymes distributes into two peaks, one mainly p42mapk and one mainly p44mapk, both of which are stimulated by ATP with respect to kinase activity and phospho-MAPK immunoreactivity. Stimulation of P2Y1 or P2Y2 purinoceptors leads to a severalfold increase in PGI2 efflux; this was blocked in a dose-dependent manner by the selective MAPK kinase inhibitor PD98059. This drug also blocked the agonist-stimulated increase in phospho-MAPK immunoreactivity for both p42mapk and p44mapk but left the phospholipase C response to P2 agonists essentially unchanged. Olomoucine has been reported to inhibit p44mapk activity. Here we show that in the same concentration range olomoucine inhibits activity in both peaks from the Resource Q column and also the agonist stimulation of 6-keto-PGF1, but has no effect on agonist-stimulated phospho-MAPK immunoreactivity. These results provide direct evidence for the involvement of p42 and p44 MAPK in the PGI2 response of intact endothelial cells: we have shown that both the endothelial P2Y purinoceptors are linked to activation of MAPK, and that activation of this pathway is a requirement for the stimulation by ATP/ADP of endothelial PGI2 production.

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