The Akt serine/threonine kinase is required for the survival of many cell types and for transformation of hematopoietic cells by the BCR/ABL oncogenic tyrosine kinase. Analysis of the potential mechanisms whereby Akt promotes survival of hematopoietic cells revealed that it induced the activity of plasma membrane and mitochondrial Raf-1 in a Ras-independent, but PKC-dependent manner. Inhibition of plasma membrane Raf-1-dependent mitogen-activated protein kinase activity had no effect on the enhanced survival of cells expressing Akt. By contrast, suppression of mitochondrial Raf-1 enzymatic activity by expression of a mitochondria-targeted Raf-1 dominant-negative mutant rendered Akt-expressing cells susceptible to apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation and was accompanied by inhibition of BAD, but not mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphorylation. Together, these data indicate that PKC-dependent activation of Raf-1 plays an important role in Akt-dependent antiapoptotic effects.
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