The product of par-4, a gene induced during apoptosis, interacts selectively with the atypical isoforms of protein kinase C.
The atypical PKCs are involved in a number of important cellular functions, including cell proliferation. We report here that the product of the par-4 gene specifically interacts with the regulatory domains of zeta PKC and lambda/LPKC, which dramatically inhibits their enzymatic activity. This is particularly challenging, because expression of par-4 has been shown to correlate with growth inhibition and apoptosis. Results are shown here demonstrating that the expression of par-4 in NIH-3T3 cells induces morphological changes typical of apoptosis, which are abrogated by cotransfection of either wild-type zeta PKC or lambda/LPKC, but not by their respective kinase-inactive mutants. These findings support a role for the atypical PKC subspecies in the control of cell growth and survival.