In addition to its functions in thrombosis and hemostasis, thrombin also plays an important role in lung inflammation. Our previous report showed that thrombin activates the protein kinase C (PKC)α/c-Src and Gβγ/Rac1/PI3K/Akt signaling pathways to induce IκB kinase α/β (IKKα/β) activation, NF-κB transactivation, and IL-8/CXCL8 expressions in human lung epithelial cells (ECs). In this study, we further investigated the mechanism of c-Src-dependent Shc, Raf-1, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathways involved in thrombin-induced NF-κB activation and IL-8/CXCL8 release. Thrombin-induced increases in IL-8/CXCL8 release and κB-luciferase activity were inhibited by the Shc small interfering RNA (siRNA), p66Shc siRNA, GW 5074 (a Raf-1 inhibitor), and PD98059 (a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase (MEK) inhibitor). Treatment of A549 cells with thrombin increased p66Shc and p46/p52Shc phosphorylation at Tyr239/240 and Tyr317, which was inhibited by cell transfection with the dominant negative mutant of c-Src (c-Src DN). Thrombin caused time-dependent phosphorylation of Raf-1 and ERK, which was attenuated by the c-Src DN. Thrombin-induced IKKα/β phosphorylation was inhibited by GW 5074 and PD98059. Treatment of cells with thrombin induced Gβγ, c-Src, and p66Shc complex formation in a time-dependent manner. Taken together, these results show for the first time that thrombin activates Shc, Raf-1, and ERK through Gβγ, c-Src, and Shc complex formation to induce IKKα/β phosphorylation, NF-κB activation, and IL-8/CXCL8 release in human lung ECs.
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