Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) mediates ethanol-induced sensitization of secretagogue signaling in pancreatic acinar cells

Sung Ok Kim, Kirk L. Ives, Xiaofu Wang, Robert A. Davey, Celia Chao, Mark R. Hellmich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with most cases of chronic pancreatitis, a progressive necrotizing inflammatory disease that can result in pancreatic insufficiency due to acinar atrophy and fibrosis and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. At a cellular level acute alcohol exposure can sensitize pancreatic acinar cells to secretagogue stimulation, resulting in dysregulation of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis and premature digestive enzyme activation; however, the molecular mechanisms by which ethanol exerts these toxic effects have remained undefined. In this study we identify Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein as an essential mediator of ethanol-induced sensitization of cholecystokinin- and carbachol-regulated Ca2+ signaling in pancreatic acinar cells. We show that exposure of rodent acinar cells to ethanol induces protein kinase C-dependent Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein phosphorylation, sensitization of cholecystokinin-stimulated Ca 2+ signaling, and potentiation of both basal and cholecystokinin- stimulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Furthermore, we show that either suppression of Raf-1 kinase inhibitory protein expression using short hairpin RNA or gene ablation prevented the sensitizing effects of ethanol on cholecystokinin- and carbachol-stimulated Ca2+ signaling and intracellular chymotrypsin activation in pancreatic acinar cells, suggesting that the modulation of Raf-1 inhibitory protein expression may have future therapeutic utility in the prevention or treatment of alcohol-associated pancreatitis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33377-33388
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number40
StatePublished - Sep 28 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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