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Open Access Research article

Protein kinase D1 (PKD1) activation mediates a compensatory protective response during early stages of oxidative stress-induced neuronal degeneration

Arunkumar Asaithambi, Arthi Kanthasamy, Hariharan Saminathan, Vellareddy Anantharam and Anumantha G Kanthasamy*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biomedical Sciences, 2062 Veterinary Medicine Bldg, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA

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Molecular Neurodegeneration 2011, 6:43  doi:10.1186/1750-1326-6-43

Published: 22 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Oxidative stress is a key pathophysiological mechanism contributing to degenerative processes in many neurodegenerative diseases and therefore, unraveling molecular mechanisms underlying various stages of oxidative neuronal damage is critical to better understanding the diseases and developing new treatment modalities. We previously showed that protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) proteolytic activation during the late stages of oxidative stress is a key proapoptotic signaling mechanism that contributes to oxidative damage in Parkinson's disease (PD) models. The time course studies revealed that PKCδ activation precedes apoptotic cell death and that cells resisted early insults of oxidative damage, suggesting that some intrinsic compensatory response protects neurons from early oxidative insult. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to characterize protective signaling pathways in dopaminergic neurons during early stages of oxidative stress.

Results

Herein, we identify that protein kinase D1 (PKD1) functions as a key anti-apoptotic kinase to protect neuronal cells against early stages of oxidative stress. Exposure of dopaminergic neuronal cells to H2O2 or 6-OHDA induced PKD1 activation loop (PKD1S744/748) phosphorylation long before induction of neuronal cell death. Blockade of PKCδ cleavage, PKCδ knockdown or overexpression of a cleavage-resistant PKCδ mutant effectively attenuated PKD1 activation, indicating that PKCδ proteolytic activation regulates PKD1 phosphorylation. Furthermore, the PKCδ catalytic fragment, but not the regulatory fragment, increased PKD1 activation, confirming PKCδ activity modulates PKD1 activation. We also identified that phosphorylation of S916 at the C-terminal is a preceding event required for PKD1 activation loop phosphorylation. Importantly, negative modulation of PKD1 by the RNAi knockdown or overexpression of PKD1S916A phospho-defective mutants augmented oxidative stress-induced apoptosis, while positive modulation of PKD1 by the overexpression of full length PKD1 or constitutively active PKD1 plasmids attenuated oxidative stress-induced apoptosis, suggesting an anti-apoptotic role for PKD1 during oxidative neuronal injury.

Conclusion

Collectively, our results demonstrate that PKCδ-dependent activation of PKD1 represents a novel intrinsic protective response in counteracting early stage oxidative damage in neuronal cells. Our results suggest that positive modulation of the PKD1-mediated compensatory protective mechanism against oxidative damage in dopaminergic neurons may provide novel neuroprotective strategies for treatment of PD.