Expression of DNA repair enzymes, which includes ERCC-1, might be under the control of hormonal and growth factor stimulation. In the present study it was observed that insulin increased ERCC-1 mRNA levels both in Chinese hamster ovary cells overexpressing human insulin receptors (HIRc cells) and in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. To investigate the mechanisms underlying the increase in ERCC-1 gene expression in HIRc cells, we used a variety of pharmacological tools known to inhibit distinct signalling pathways. None of these inhibitors affected the amount of ERCC-1 mRNA in unstimulated cells. The pretreatment of cells with two chemically unrelated phosphatidylinositol 3´-kinase inhibitors, wortmannin and LY294002, failed to block the doubling of ERCC-1 mRNA content by insulin. Similarly, inhibition of pp70 S6 kinase by rapamycin had no apparent effects on this insulin response. In contrast, altering the p21ras-dependent pathway with either manumycin, an inhibitor of Ras farnesylation, or PD98059, an inhibitor of the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) kinase, suppressed the induction of ERCC-1 mRNA by insulin (P< 0.001). Furthermore inhibition of RNA and protein synthesis negatively regulated the expression of this insulin-regulated gene (P< 0.005). These results suggest that insulin enhances ERCC-1 mRNA levels by the activation of the Ras–ERK-dependent pathway without the involvement of the phosphatidylinositol 3´-kinase/pp70 S6 kinase.

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Author notes


These authors have contributed equally to this work.