High glucose stimulates synthesis of fibronectin via a novel protein kinase C, Rap1b, and B-Raf signaling pathway

Sun Lin, Atul Sahai, Sumant S. Chugh, Xiaomin Pan, Elisabeth I. Wallner, Farhad R. Danesh, Jon W. Lomasney, Yashpal S. Kanwar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The molecular mechanism(s) by which high glucose induces fibronectin expression via G-protein activation in the kidney are largely unknown. This investigation describes the effect of high glucose (HG) on a small GTP-binding protein, Rap1b, expression and activation, and the relevance of protein kinase C (PKC) and Raf pathways in fibronectin synthesis in cultured renal glomerular mesangial cells (MCs). In vivo experiments revealed a dose-dependent increase in Rap1b expression in glomeruli of diabetic rat kidneys. Similarly, in vitro exposure of MCs to HG led to an up-regulation of Rap1b with concomitant increase in fibronectin (FN) mRNA and protein expression. The up-regulation of Rap1b mRNA was mitigated by the PKC inhibitors, calphostin C, and bisindolymaleimide, while also reducing HG-induced FN expression in non-transfected MCs. Overexpression of Rap1b by transfection with pcDNA 3.1/Rap1b in MCs resulted in the stimulation of FN synthesis; however, the PKC inhibitors had no significant effect in reducing FN expression in Rap1b-transfected MCs. Transfection of Rap1b mutants S17N (Ser → Asn) or T61R (Thr → Arg) in MCs inhibited the HG-induced increased FN synthesis. B-Raf and Raf-1 expression was investigated to assess whether Rap1b effects are mediated via the Raf pathway. B-Raf, and not Raf-1, expression was increased in MCs transfected with Rap1b. HG also caused activation of Rap1b, which was largely unaffected by antiplatelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) antibodies. HG-induced activation of Rap1b was specific, since Rap2b activation and expression of Rap2a and Rap2b were unaffected by HG. These findings indicate that hyperglycemia and HG cause an activation and up-regulation of Rap1b in renal glomeruli and in cultured MCs, which then stimulates FN synthesis. This effect appears to be PKC-dependent and PDGF-independent, but involves B-Raf, suggesting a novel PKC-Rap1b-B-Raf pathway responsible for HG-induced increased mesangial matrix synthesis, a hallmark of diabetic nephropathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41725-41735
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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