Document Type


Publication Date



Up to now, the ability of target cells to activate protein kinase C (PKC) and protein kinase D (PKD) (which is often a downstream target of PKC) has not been examined in natural killer (NK) lymphocytes. Here we examined whether exposure of human NK cells to lysis sensitive tumor cells activated PKC and PKD. The results of these studies show for the first time that activation of PKC and PKD occurs in response to target cell binding to NK cells. Exposure of NK cells to K562 tumor cells for 10 and 30 min increased phosphorylation/activation of both PKC and PKD by roughly 2-fold. Butyltins (tributyltin (TBT), dibutyltin (DBT)) and brominated compounds (tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA)) are environmental contaminants that are found in human blood. Exposures of NK cells to TBT, DBT, or TBBPA decrease NK cell lytic function in part by activating the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) that are part of the NK lytic pathway. We established that PKC and PKD are part of the lytic pathway upstream of MAPKs and thus we investigated whether DBT, TBT, and TBBPA exposures activated PKC and PKD. TBT-activated PKC by 2–3-folds at 10 min at concentrations ranging from 50 to 300 nM while DBT caused a 1.3-fold activation at 2.5 µM at 10 min. Both TBT and DBT caused an approximately 2-fold increase in phosphorylation/activation of PKC. Exposures to TBBPA caused no statistically significant changes in either PKC or PKD activation.

Included in

Cell Biology Commons