, Volume 41, Issue 7, pp 833-838

First online:

Protein kinase C isoforms α, δ and θ require insulin receptor substrate-1 to inhibit the tyrosine kinase activity of the insulin receptor in human kidney embryonic cells (HEK 293 cells)

  • M. KellererAffiliated withEberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Innere Medizin IV, Tübingen, Germany
  • , J. MushackAffiliated withEberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Innere Medizin IV, Tübingen, Germany
  • , E. SefferAffiliated withEberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Innere Medizin IV, Tübingen, Germany
  • , H. MischakAffiliated withHämatologisches Institut, München, Germany
  • , A. UllrichAffiliated withMax-Planck-Institut für Biochemie, Martinsried, Germany
  • , H. U. HäringAffiliated withEberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Innere Medizin IV, Tübingen, Germany


Protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms are potentially important as modulators of the insulin signalling chain and could be involved in the pathogenesis of cellular insulin resistance. We have previously shown that phorbol ester stimulated PKC β1 and β2 as well as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) stimulated PKC ɛ inhibit human insulin receptor (HIR) signalling. There is increasing evidence that the insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) is involved in inhibitory signals in insulin receptor function. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the role of IRS-1 in the inhibitory effects of protein kinase C on human insulin receptor function. HIR, PKC isoforms (α, β1, β2, γ, δ, ɛ, η, θ and ζ) and IRS-1 were coexpressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells. PKCs were activated by preincubation with the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate (CTPA) (10––7 mol/l) following insulin stimulation. While PKCs α, δ and θ were not inhibitory in HEK 293 cells which were transfected only with HIR and PKC, additional transfection of IRS-1 induced a strong inhibitory effect of these PKC isoforms being maximal for PKC θ (99 ± 1.8 % inhibition of insulin stimulated receptor autophosphorylation, n = 7, p < 0.001). No effect was seen with PKC γ, ɛ, ζ and η while the earlier observed insulin receptor kinase inhibition of PKC β2 was further augmented (91 ± 13 %, n = 7, p < 0.001 instead of 45 % without IRS-1). The strong inhibitory effect of PKC θ is accompanied by a molecular weight shift of IRS-1 (183 kDa vs 180 kDa) in the sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel. This can be reversed by alkaline phosphatase treatment of IRS-1 suggesting that this molecular weight shift is due to an increased phosphorylation of IRS-1 on serine or threonine residues. In summary, these data show that IRS-1 is involved in the inhibitory effect of the PKC isoforms α, β2, δ and θ and it is likely that this involves serine/threonine phosphorylation of IRS-1. [Diabetologia (1998) 41: 833–838]

Keywords Insulin receptor insulin receptor substrate protein kinase C insulin resistance serine phosphorylation.