While the mechanism of signal transduction across the plasma membrane from the exo- to the endoplasmic side has been extensively investigated, the possible return of messages back to the outer layer is less known. We studied the effect of protein kinase C activation on the ganglioside accessibility at the exoplasmic face of intact rat cerebellar granule cells in culture, using the enzyme sialidase as the probing molecule. Under the experimental conditions (1 milliunit/mL enzyme, 2 min incubation at 37 °C), only GT1b and GD1a gangliosides were partially affected by the enzyme (28.6 and 25.7% hydrolysis, respectively). After cell treatment with phorbol 12-myristate 13- acetate, inducing protein kinase C activation, GT1b and GD1a ganglioside susceptibility to sialidase was strongly decreased (8.6 and 15.9% hydrolysis, respectively). A reduction of ganglioside hydrolysis was also observed when protein kinase C activation was induced by cell treatment for 15 min with 100μM glutamate. On the contrary, accessibility did not vary when protein kinase C translocation was not effective (either in the absence of Ca2+ in the medium or using 1μM glutamate) or when the kinase activity was inhibited by staurosporine. These data suggest that following PKC activation, a key step of inbound transmembrane signaling, cell may dispatch outbound messages to the plasma membrane outer layer, changing the selective recognition and crypticity of glycolipids at the cell surface, possibly through a modulation of their segregation state.
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