Chen Y, Ip SP, Ko KM, Poon TCW, Ng EWY, Lai PBS, Mao QQ, Xian YF, Che CT
 School of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
 Department of Biochemistry, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong SAR, China.
 Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences and Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
 Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.
To identify key proteins involved in the hepatoprotection afforded by schisandrin B (Sch B), we used a proteomic approach to screen proteins that were specifically regulated by Sch B in mouse livers and to investigate the role of the proteins in hepatoprotection. Thirteen proteins were specifically activated or suppressed by Sch B treatment. Among the 13 proteins, Raf kinase inhibitor protein (RKIP) was postulated to be the key regulator involved in the development of hepatotoxin-induced cellular damage. The results indicated that the downregulation of RKIP by antisense RKIP vector transfection led to the activation of the Raf-1/MEK/ERK signaling pathway, as evidenced by increases in the level of MEK/ERK phosphorylation and the level of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 in the nucleus. The signaling effect produced by RKIP downregulation resembled that triggered by Sch B, wherein both treatments resulted in a decrease in the extent of carbon tetrachloride-induced apoptotic cell death in AML12 hepatocytes. Overexpression of RKIP by the sense RKIP transfection vector or the inhibition of MEK kinase by PD98059 was able to abrogate the cytoprotective effect of Sch B in the hepatocytes. The results indicate that Sch B triggers the Raf/MEK/ERK signaling pathway, presumably by downregulating RKIP, thereby protecting against carbon tetrachloride-induced cytotoxicity.