Demonstration of protein kinase C activity in crustacean Y-organs, and partial definition of its role in regulation of ecdysteroidogenesis

Mark P. Mattson, Eugene Spaziani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ecdysteroid-producing Y-organs from the crab Cancer antennarius were shown to possess enzyme activity that was stimulated in vitro by addition of Ca2+, phosphatidylserine, or the protein kinase C activator, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA; ED50, 4 nM). In the presence of calcium and phosphatidylserine, PMA increased protein kinase C activity dose-dependently to a maximum 4-fold increase at 100 nM PMA. Stimulated protein kinase C activity was unaffected by calmodulin (100 nM) but was inhibited by 100 nM trifluoperazine. Pretreatment of cultured Y-organ segments with PMA elevated basal protein kinase C activity, whereas molt-inhibiting hormone (MIH) and calcium ionophore A23187 did not affect activity. PMA (1-100 nM) increased Y-organ steroidogenesis dose-dependently and alleviated suppression due to MIH or lysine vasopressin; PMA effects on steroidogenesis became evident after 2 h of incubation. Another phorbol activator of protein kinase C (phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate) and a permeable synthetic diacylglycerol (1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-glycerol) stimulated ecdysteroidogenesis while an inactive phorbol (4α-phorbol 12,13-didecanoate) and diolein were ineffective. The inhibitory effects on steroidogenesis of cholera toxin, forskolin, dibutyryl cAMP, and 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine were countered by PMA, but PMA did not alter basal or peptide hormone-stimulated Y-organ cAMP levels. Stimulatory effects on steroidogenesis of PMA and of A23187 were not additive, and PMA did not alter inhibition caused by lanthanum (calcium channel blocker) or trifluoperazine (calmodulin inhibitor). PMA increased the incorporation of [3H]leucine into Y-organ protein by 112%, and countered the suppressive effect of MIH on protein synthesis; PMA did not affect RNA synthesis. When Y-organs were suppressed with cycloheximide, PMA was unable to stimulate steroidogenesis. Actinomycin D alone had no effect on steroidogenesis but prevented stimulation by PMA. The results indicate that Y-organs contain protein kinase C activity which stimulates ecdysteroid production and protein synthesis by a mechanism not directly interactive with the cAMP or Ca2+-calmodulin systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Crustaceans
  • Ecdysteroidogenesis
  • Protein kinase C
  • Regulation
  • Y-organ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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