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The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway is among several signal transduction pathways that are activated in response to exposure to the DNA damage-inducing chemotherapeutic agent cisplatin. We have previously reported that inhibition of cisplatin-induced ERK activity enhances sensitivity to cisplatin. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that cisplatin-induced ERK activation is required for optimal p53 protein accumulation following cisplatin-induced DNA damage. In the present study, we expanded our investigations to examine the effect of cisplatin-induced ERK activation on the expression of p53-targeted genes that have been shown to be important in the cellular response to DNA damage including Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-x1, Cyclin G, Gadd45, p21WAF1, and Mdm2. In the ovarian carcinoma cell line A2780, cisplatin was shown to induce expression of p21WAF1, Gadd45 and Mdm2, but cisplatin had no effect on expression of Bax, Bcl-2, Bcl-x1, or Cyclin G. Inhibition of cisplatin-induced ERK activity by PD98059 resulted in decreased levels of p21WAF1, Gadd45 and Mdm2. These results provide evidence that ERK activity during the cisplatin DNA damage response, regulates in part, these cell cycle control (p21WAF1, Gadd45), DNA repair (Gadd45) and p53-regulatory (Mdm2) proteins.
The ARF and p53 tumor suppressors mediate Myc-induced apoptosis and suppress lymphoma development in E mu-myc transgenic mice. Here we report that the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bax also mediates apoptosis triggered by Myc and inhibits Myc-induced lymphomagenesis. Bax-deficient primary pre-B cells are resistant to the apoptotic effects of Myc, and Bax loss accelerates lymphoma development in E mu-myc transgenics in a dose-dependent fashion. Eighty percent of lymphomas arising in wild-type E mu-myc transgenics have alterations in the ARF-Mdm2-p53 tumor suppressor pathway characterized by deletions in ARF, mutations or deletions of p53, and overexpression of Mdm2. The absence of Bax did not alter the frequency of biallelic deletion of ARF in lymphomas arising in E mu-myc transgenic mice or the rate of tumorigenesis in ARF-null mice. Furthermore, Mdm2 was overexpressed at the same frequency in lymphomas irrespective of Bax status, suggesting that Bax resides in a pathway separate from ARF and Mdm2. Strikingly, lymphomas from Bax-null E mu-myc transgenics lacked p53 alterations, whereas 27% of the tumors in Bax(+/-) E mu-myc transgenic mice contained p53 mutations or deletions. Thus, the loss of Bax eliminates the selection of p53 mutations and deletions, but not ARF deletions or Mdm2 overexpression, during Myc-induced tumorigenesis, formally demonstrating that Myc-induced apoptotic signals through ARF/Mdm2 and p53 must bifurcate: p53 signals through Bax, whereas this is not necessarily the case for ARF and Mdm2.
BACKGROUND - Adenovirus-mediated overexpression of the apoptosis-inducing protein Bax can induce apoptosis in prostate cancer cell lines. Constitutive overexpression of Bax could result in unwanted apoptosis in every site of accidental Bax accumulation in vivo. Therefore, we developed an adenoviral construct (Av-ARR2PB-Bax) in which the probasin promoter, modified to contain two androgen response elements, drives Bax expression. This promoter would be expected to limit expression of Bax to cells expressing the androgen receptor.
METHODS - A variety of androgen receptor (AR)-positive and -negative cell lines of prostatic or nonprostatic origin were infected with Av-ARR2PB-Bax or a control virus, Av-ARR2PB-CAT, in which the same promoter drives expression of the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase-reporter gene. Bax expression and apoptosis in vitro were assessed by western blot analysis. Tumor size and apoptosis in vivo were assessed after four weekly injections of Av-ARR2PB-Bax or Av-ARR2PB-CAT into subcutaneous LNCaP xenografts growing in uncastrated male mice. All statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS - Bax was overexpressed in an androgen-dependent way in AR-positive cell lines of prostatic origin but not in AR-positive cells of nonprostatic origin or in AR-negative cell lines of either prostatic or nonprostatic origin. The androgen dihydrotestosterone activated apoptosis in LNCaP cells infected with Av-ARR2PB-Bax but not in those infected with Av-ARR2PB-CAT. Av-ARR2PB-Bax-injected LNCaP xenograft tumors decreased in tumor size from 34.1 mm3 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 25.1 mm3 to 43.1 mm3) to 24.6 mm3 (95% CI = -2.5 mm3 to 51.7 mm3), but the difference was not statistically significant (P =.5). Tumors injected with Av-ARR2PB-CAT increased in size, from 28.9 mm3 (95% CI = 12.7 mm3 to 45.1 mm3) to 206 mm3 (95% CI = 122 mm3 to 290 mm3) (P =.002) and contained statistically significant more apoptotic cells (23.3% [95% CI = 21.1% to 25.6%] versus 9.5% [95% CI = 8.0% to 11.1]) (P<.001).
CONCLUSIONS - Av-ARR2PB-Bax induces androgen-dependent therapeutic apoptosis in vitro and in vivo by activating apoptosis in AR-positive cells derived specifically from prostatic epithelium and does not affect nonprostatic cells.
Oxidative stress stimulates both growth and apoptosis in cardiac myocytes in vitro. We investigated whether oxidative stress mediates hypertrophy and apoptosis in cyclically stretched ventricular myocytes. Neonatal rat ventricular myocytes cultured on laminin-coated silastic membranes were stretched cyclically (1 Hz) at low (nominal 5%) and high (nominal 25%) amplitudes for 24 hours. Stretch caused a graded increase in superoxide anion production as assessed by superoxide dismutase (SOD)-inhibitable cytochrome c reduction or electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. The role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was assessed using the cell-permeable SOD/catalase mimetics Mn(II/III)tetrakis(1-methyl-4-peridyl) (MnTMPyP) and EUK-8. Stretch-induced increases in protein synthesis ((3)H-leucine incorporation) and cellular protein content were completely inhibited by MnTMPyP (0.05 mmol/L) at both low and high amplitudes of stretch. In contrast, while MnTMPyP inhibited basal atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) mRNA expression, the stretch-induced increase in ANF mRNA expression was not inhibited by MnTMPyP. In contrast to hypertrophy, only high-amplitude stretch increased myocyte apoptosis, as reflected by increased DNA fragmentation on gel electrophoresis and an approximately 3-fold increase in the number of TUNEL-positive myocytes. Similarly, only high-amplitude stretch increased the expression of bax mRNA. Myocyte apoptosis and bax expression stimulated by high-amplitude stretch were inhibited by MnTMPyP. Both low- and high-amplitude stretch caused rapid phosphorylation of ERK1/2, while high-, but not low-, amplitude stretch caused phosphorylation of JNKs. Activation of both ERK1/2 and JNKs was ROS-dependent. Thus, cyclic strain causes an amplitude-related increase in ROS, associated with differential activation of kinases and induction of hypertrophic and apoptotic phenotypes.
The mechanisms linking acinar cell apoptosis and ductal epithelial proliferation remain unknown. To determine the relationship between these events, pancreatic duct ligation (PDL) was performed on p53(+/+) and p53(-/-) mice. In mice bearing a wild-type p53 allele, PDL resulted in upregulation of p53 protein in both acinar cells and proliferating duct-like epithelium. In contrast, upregulation of Bcl-2 occurred only in duct-like epithelium. Both p21(WAF1/CIP1) and Bax were also upregulated in duct-ligated lobes. After PDL in p53(+/+) mice, acinar cells underwent widespread apoptosis, while duct-like epithelium underwent proliferative expansion. In the absence of p53, upregulation of p53 target genes and acinar cell apoptosis did not occur. The absence of acinar cell apoptosis in p53(-/-) mice also eliminated the proliferative response to duct ligation. These data demonstrate that PDL-induced acinar cell apoptosis is a p53-dependent event and suggest a direct link between acinar cell apoptosis and proliferation of duct-like epithelium in duct-ligated pancreas.
bcl-x is a member of the bcl-2 family of genes. The major protein product, Bcl-x(L), is a 233-amino-acid protein which has antiapoptotic properties. In contrast, one of the alternatively spliced transcripts of the bcl-x gene codes for the protein Bcl-x(S), which lacks 63 amino acids present in Bcl-x(L) and has proapoptotic activity. Unlike other proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members, such as Bax and Bak, Bcl-x(S) does not seem to induce cell death in the absence of an additional death signal. However, Bcl-x(S) does interfere with the ability of Bcl-x(L) to antagonize Bax-induced death in transiently transfected 293 cells. Mutational analysis of Bcl-x(S) was conducted to identify the domains necessary to mediate its proapoptotic phenotype. Deletion mutants of Bcl-x(S) which still contained an intact BH3 domain retained the ability to inhibit survival through antagonism of Bcl-x(L). Bcl-x(S) was able to form heterodimers with Bcl-x(L) in mammalian cells, and its ability to inhibit survival correlated with the ability to heterodimerize with Bcl-x(L). Deletion mutants of Bax and Bcl-2, which lacked BH1 and BH2 domains but contained a BH3 domain, were able to antagonize the survival effect conferred by Bcl-x(L). The results suggest that BH3 domains from both pro- and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members, while lacking an intrinsic ability to promote programmed cell death, can be potent inhibitors of Bcl-x(L) survival function.
A hydrophobic cleft formed by the BH1, BH2 and BH3 domains of Bcl-xL is responsible for interactions between Bcl-xL and BH3-containing death agonists. Mutants were constructed which did not bind to Bax but retained anti-apoptotic activity. Since Bcl-xL can form an ion channel in synthetic lipid membranes, the possibility that this property has a role in heterodimerization-independent cell survival was tested by replacing amino acids within the predicted channel-forming domain with the corresponding amino acids from Bax. The resulting chimera showed a reduced ability to adopt an open conductance state over a wide range of membrane potentials. Although this construct retained the ability to heterodimerize with Bax and to inhibit apoptosis, when a mutation was introduced that rendered the chimera incapable of heterodimerization, the resulting protein failed to prevent both apoptosis in mammalian cells and Bax-mediated growth defect in yeast. Similar to mammalian cells undergoing apoptosis, yeast cells expressing Bax exhibited changes in mitochondrial properties that were inhibited by Bcl-xL through heterodimerization-dependent and -independent mechanisms. These data suggest that Bcl-xL regulates cell survival by at least two distinct mechanisms; one is associated with heterodimerization and the other with the ability to form a sustained ion channel.
Bcl-X(L), a member of the Bcl-2 family, can inhibit many forms of programed cell death. The three-dimensional structure of Bcl-X(L) identified a 60 amino acid loop lacking defined structure. Although amino acid sequence within this region is not conserved among Bcl-2 family members, structural modeling suggested that Bcl-2 also contains a large unstructured region. Compared with the full-length protein, loop deletion mutants of Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2 displayed an enhanced ability to inhibit apoptosis. Despite enhanced function, the deletion mutants did not have significant alterations in the ability to bind pro-apoptotic proteins such as Bax. The loop deletion mutant of Bcl-2 also displayed a qualitative difference in its ability to inhibit apoptosis. Full-length Bcl-2 was unable to prevent anti-IgM-induced cell death of the immature B cell line WEHI-231. In contrast, the Bcl-2 deletion mutant protected WEHI-231 cells from death. Substantial differences were observed in the ability of WEHI-231 cells to phosphorylate the deletion mutant of Bcl-2 compared with full-length Bcl-2. Bcl-2 phosphorylation was found to be dependent on the presence of an intact loop domain. These results suggest that the loop domain in Bcl-X(L) and Bcl-2 can suppress the anti-apoptotic function of these genes and may be a target for regulatory post-translational modifications.