Chemically diverse toxicants converge on Fyn and c-Cbl to disrupt precursor cell function.

Department of Biomedical Genetics, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, United States of America.
PLoS Biology (Impact Factor: 11.77). 03/2007; 5(2):e35. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050035
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Identification of common mechanistic principles that shed light on the action of the many chemically diverse toxicants to which we are exposed is of central importance in understanding how toxicants disrupt normal cellular function and in developing more effective means of protecting against such effects. Of particular importance is identifying mechanisms operative at environmentally relevant toxicant exposure levels. Chemically diverse toxicants exhibit striking convergence, at environmentally relevant exposure levels, on pathway-specific disruption of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling required for cell division in central nervous system (CNS) progenitor cells. Relatively small toxicant-induced increases in oxidative status are associated with Fyn kinase activation, leading to secondary activation of the c-Cbl ubiquitin ligase. Fyn/c-Cbl pathway activation by these pro-oxidative changes causes specific reductions, in vitro and in vivo, in levels of the c-Cbl target platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha and other c-Cbl targets, but not of the TrkC RTK (which is not a c-Cbl target). Sequential Fyn and c-Cbl activation, with consequent pathway-specific suppression of RTK signaling, is induced by levels of methylmercury and lead that affect large segments of the population, as well as by paraquat, an organic herbicide. Our results identify a novel regulatory pathway of oxidant-mediated Fyn/c-Cbl activation as a shared mechanism of action of chemically diverse toxicants at environmentally relevant levels, and as a means by which increased oxidative status may disrupt mitogenic signaling. These results provide one of a small number of general mechanistic principles in toxicology, and the only such principle integrating toxicology, precursor cell biology, redox biology, and signaling pathway analysis in a predictive framework of broad potential relevance to the understanding of pro-oxidant-mediated disruption of normal development.

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