Ras mutation, irrespective of cell type and p53 status, determines a cell's destiny to undergo apoptosis by okadaic acid, an inhibitor of protein phosphatase 1 and 2A

D Rajesh, K Schell, A K Verma
Molecular Pharmacology 1999, 56 (3): 515-25
Okadaic acid (OA), a toxin from the black sponge Halicondria okadai, is a specific inhibitor of serine/threonine protein phosphatases 1 (PP1) and 2A (PP2A). OA is a tumor promoter but also induces apoptosis in some tumor cell lines. In this study, we determined whether ras mutation and/or p53 status are characteristics associated with the cell's sensitivity to the induction of apoptosis by OA. Several cell lines that differed in ras and p53 mutations were treated with OA (10-100 nM). At 24 to 48 h after treatment, the percentage of cells undergoing apoptosis was quantitated. The cell lines with mutations in either H-ras (human bladder carcinoma cell line T24 and mouse keratinocyte cell line 308), or K-ras (human colon carcinoma cell lines DLD-1 and HCT116; human prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and PC-3; human lung cancer cell lines Calu-6 and SKLU-1; and human pancreatic cancer cell line MIAPaCa2) were more sensitive to OA-induced apoptosis (3- to 10-fold) than the cell lines that lacked the ras mutation (mouse epidermal cell lines C50 and JB6; murine fibroblast cell line NIH3T3; human colon cancer cell line HT29; human kidney epithelial cell line Hs715.K; and human pancreatic cancer cell line Bx-PC3). Similarly, using isogenic cell lines we found that overexpression of mutated H-ras in NIH3T3 and in SV40 immortalized human uroepithelial cells (SVHUC) enhanced their sensitivity to undergo apoptosis in response to OA treatment. The T24, DLD-1, SKLU-1, Calu-6, and MIAPaCa2 cell lines express mutated p53. The SVHUC as well as their ras-transfected counterparts have inactive p53 due to complex formation between large "T" antigen and p53. Taken together, these results imply that OA-induced apoptosis may involve a p53-independent pathway. The transfectants (NIH3T3-ras and SVHUC-ras), which express mutated H-ras, have up-regulated PP2A activity. OA treatment inhibited in vivo the levels of PP1 and PP2A activity, and induced apoptosis in SVHUC-ras and other cell lines. We conclude that OA-induced cell death pathway in ras-activated cell lines may involve a cross talk between PP1 and PP2A and ras signaling pathways. In light of the present results, the current theory that OA promotes mouse skin tumor formation by selective expansion of initiated cells that harbor ras mutations needs reevaluation.

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