Human vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs), which do not display the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) receptor CD14, were examined for protein tyrosine phosphorylation after LPS stimulation in the presence and absence of soluble CD14 (sCD14). By phosphotyrosine Western blotting and immunocomplex kinase assays we show that LPS was capable of inducing in these cells rapid protein tyrosine phosphorylation and kinase activation of two members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family erk-1 and the newly discovered p38, requiring the presence of sCD14. LPS-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of MAPK was associated with increased transcript- and surface protein expression of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 by HUVECs. MAPK phosphorylation and activation was induced by LPS in concentrations as little as 30 ng/mL and as early as 15 minutes after stimulation. Furthermore, tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as Genistein partially inhibited this effect. These results show that LPS triggers similar signaling events in both CD14+ myelo-monocytic cells and cells lacking the putative LPS-receptor CD14, suggesting the presence of a common, yet unidentified element in LPS-signaling in both cell types.

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