Stretch-induced Raf-1 activation in mesangial cells requires actin cytoskeletal integrity
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Glomerular capillary hypertension is a determinant of glomerulosclerosis and is modelled in vitro by exposure of mesangial cells to cyclic mechanical strain. In response to strain, Erk is activated and mediates extracellular matrix accumulation and mesangial cell proliferation. Erk activation is dependent on an intact cytoskeleton. Since Raf-1 lies upstream of Erk in response to numerous stimuli, and since its activation is dependent on membrane recruitment, we postulated that the cytoskeleton was essential for Raf-1 membrane recruitment and Erk activation. Primary rat mesangial cells (passages 8-20) were stretched at 1 Hz and 27 kPa. Raf-1 was both phosphorylated on serine-338 (S338) and activated within 2 min of strain. The Raf-1 inhibitor, GW5074, dose-dependently blocked strain-induced Erk activation and Raf-1 phosphorylation. Although phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3-K) may mediate Raf-1 activation, PI3-K inhibition with wortmannin or LY294002 had no effect on stretch-induced Raf-1 activation. Cytoskeletal disruption with cytochalasin D and the Rho-kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, however, blocked both Raf-1 phosphorylation and activation. Furthermore, membrane localization of Raf-1 was increased by strain and prevented by cytoskeletal disruption. Thus, strain leads to rapid membrane localization, S338 phosphorylation, and activation of Raf-1. These events are independent of PI3-K, but require Rho-kinase activation and an intact actin cytoskeleton.
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