Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) catalyzes the rate-limiting step in hepatic gluconeogenesis. Glucagon (via the second messenger cAMP), retinoic acid, and glucocorticoids stimulate transcription of the PEPCK gene, whereas insulin and phorbol esters have a dominant inhibitory effect. We now show that oxidative and chemical stress (hydrogen peroxide and sodium meta-arsenite, respectively) also produce a dominant inhibitory effect, both on the endogenous PEPCK gene and on a stably transfected PEPCK–chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) fusion gene. Wortmannin, an inhibitor of 1-phosphatidylinositol 3- kinase (PI 3-kinase), blocks the inhibition of glucocorticoid and cAMP-induced PEPCK gene transcription by insulin; however, it has no effect on the inhibition elicited by oxidative or chemical stress. Thus, the mechanism(s) used by hydrogen peroxide and sodium meta-arsenite to regulate PEPCK gene expression are PI 3-kinase independent. This suggests that these agents operate by a pathway distinct from that used by insulin or that the pathways converge at a point downstream of PI 3-kinase. The reactivating kinase (RK, also known as p38 mitogen activated protein kinase) is induced by insulin, hydrogen peroxide, or sodium metaarsenite in hepatoma cells, and these effects are blocked by SB203580, a selective inhibitor of RK. However, SB203580 has no effect on the ability of any of these agents to regulate PEPCK-CAT fusion gene expression. Thus, although RK has a role in the regulation of lymphokine gene expression in monocytes, it is not required for the regulation of PEPCK expression by either insulin or oxidative and chemical stress in hepatoma cells. From the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, Tennessee.

This content is only available via PDF.