In Con8 rat mammary epithelial tumor cells, indirect immunofluorescence revealed that Sgk (serum- and glucocorticoid-regulated kinase) and Erk/MAPK (extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase/mitogen activated protein kinase) co-localized to the nucleus in serum-treated cells and to the cytoplasmic compartment in cells treated with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone. Moreover, the subcellular distribution of the importin-alpha nuclear transport protein was similarly regulated in a signal-dependent manner. In vitro GST-pull down assays revealed the direct interaction of importin-alpha with either Sgk or Erk/MAPK, while RNA interference knockdown of importin-alpha expression disrupted the localization of both Sgk and Erk into the nucleus of serum-treated cells. Wild type or kinase dead forms of Sgk co-immunoprecipitated with Erk/MAPK from either serum- or dexamethasone-treated mammary tumor cells, suggesting the existence of a protein complex containing both kinases. In serum-treated cells, nucleus residing Sgk and Erk/MAPK were both hyperphosphorylated, indicative of their active states, whereas, in dexamethasone-treated cells Erk/MAPK, but not Sgk, was in its inactive hypophosphorylated state. Treatment with a MEK inhibitor, which inactivates Erk/MAPK, caused the relocalization of both Sgk and ERK to the cytoplasm. We therefore propose that the signal-dependent co-localization of Sgk and Erk/MAPK mediated by importin-alpha represents a new pathway of signal integration between steroid and serum/growth factor-regulated pathways.
- Nuclear/cytoplasmic localization
- Protein kinase
- Steroid and growth factor signal integration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology