Cooperation of Epac1/Rap1/Akt and PKA in prostaglandin E(2) -induced proliferation of human umbilical cord blood derived mesenchymal stem cells: involvement of c-Myc and VEGF expression.

Research paper by Min Woo MW Jang, Seung Pil SP Yun, Jae Hong JH Park, Jung Min JM Ryu, Jang Hern JH Lee, Ho Jae HJ Han

Indexed on: 02 Mar '12Published on: 02 Mar '12Published in: Journal of Cellular Physiology


Prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) is well known to regulate cell functions through cAMP; however, the role of exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac1) and protein kinase A (PKA) in modulating such functions is unknown in human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUCB-MSCs). Therefore, we investigated the relationship between Epac1 and PKA during PGE(2)-induced hUCB-MSC proliferation and its related signaling pathways. PGE(2) increased cell proliferation, and E-type prostaglandin (EP) 2 receptor mRNA expression level and activated cAMP generation, which were blocked by EP2 receptor selective antagonist AH 6809. PGE(2) increased Epac1 expression, Ras-related protein 1 (Rap1) activation level, and Akt phosphorylation, which were inhibited by AH 6809, adenylyl cyclase inhibitor SQ 22536, and Epac1/Rap1-specific siRNA. Also, PGE(2) increased PKA activity, which was inhibited by AH 6809, SQ 22536, and PKA inhibitor PKI. HUCB-MSCs were incubated with the Epac agonist 8-pCPT-cAMP or the PKA agonist 6-phe-cAMP to examine whether Epac1/Rap1/Akt activation was independent of PKA activation. 8-pCPT-cAMP increased Akt phosphorylation but not PKA activity. 6-Phe-cAMP increased PKA activity, but not Akt phosphorylation. Additionally, an Akt inhibitor or PKA inhibitor (PKI) did not block the PGE(2) -induced increase in PKA activity or Akt phosphorylation, respectively. Moreover, PGE(2) increased glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3β phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of active-β-catenin, which were inhibited by Akt inhibitor or/and PKI. PGE(2) increased c-Myc and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression levels, which were blocked by β-catenin siRNA. In conclusion, PGE(2) stimulated hUCB-MSC proliferation through β-catenin-mediated c-Myc and VEGF expression via Epac/Rap1/Akt and PKA cooperation.