Phorbol ester stimulates choline uptake in Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts following introduction of the gene encoding protein kinase Cα

B. E. Slack*, J. Breu, E. Livneh, H. Eldar, R. J. Wurtman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) stimulated radiolabelled choline uptake and incorporation into phosphatidylcholine (PtdCho) in a time- and concentration-dependent manner in wild-type NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. The accumulation of labelled choline induced by PMA was paralled by an increase in choline mass. The results implicate protein kinase C (PKC) in the regulation of choline uptake. In order to address the PKC-subtype specificity of this response, a study was undertaken in Swiss 3T3 fibroblast cells, which normally express very low levels of PKCα. A retroviral expression system was used to introduce the genes for PKCα and neomycin resistance (used for selection) into the cells. Two resulting lines expressed PKCα at levels that were 20-fold higher than those found in the control (neomycin-resistant) line, or in the wild-type cells. In control Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts, 1 μM PMA elevated choline levels by only 30%, whereas, in Swiss 3T3 cell lines that stably over-expressed PKCα, PMA caused a 5-fold enhancement in [14C]choline accumulation. This concentration of PMA significantly increased [14C]PtdCho levels in both control and PKCα-over-expressing lines, although the effect in the latter was significantly greater. The effects of PMA were inhibited by the PKC antagonist sphingosine. These results implicate PKCα in the regulation of choline accumulation and phospholipid synthesis in fibroblasts. Although additional PKC subtypes appear to participate in the control of PtdCho synthesis in these cells, PMA-stimulated choline uptake in Swiss 3T3 fibroblasts is almost entirely dependent on the presence of PKCα.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-626
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Biological Transport/drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carbon Radioisotopes
  • Choline/metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Isoenzymes/genetics
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Mice
  • Phosphatidylcholines/biosynthesis
  • Phosphorylcholine/metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C/analysis
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • Recombinant Proteins/metabolism
  • Sphingosine/pharmacology
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate/pharmacology


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