Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase is involved in vincristine-induced cell apoptosis in B16 melanoma cell

Min-Bin Chen, Wen-Xiang Shen, Yun Yang, Xiao-Yang Wu, Jin-Hua Gu, Pei-Hua Lu
Journal of Cellular Physiology 2011, 226 (7): 1915-25
The molecular basis for induction of apoptosis in melanoma cells by vincristine remains unknown. Here we tested the potential involvement of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in this process. We found for the first time that vincristine induces AMPK activation (AMPKα, Thr 172) and Acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC, Ser 79) (a downstream molecular target of AMPK) phosphorylation in cultured melanoma cells in vitro. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) dependent LKB1 activation serves as the upstream signal for AMPK activation. AMPK inhibitor (compound C) or AMPKα siRNA knockdown inhibits vincristine induced B16 melanoma cell apoptosis, while AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide-1-β-riboside (AICAR) enhances it. AMPK activation is involved in vincristine induced p53 phosphorylation and stabilization, the latter is known to mediate melanoma cell apoptosis. Further, activation of AMPK by vincristine inhibits mTOR Complex 1 (mTORC1) in B16 melanoma cells, which serves as another important mechanism to induce melanoma cell apoptosis. Our study provides new insights into understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of vincristine induced cancer cell death/apoptosis. We suggest that combining AMPK activator AICAR with vincristine may have potential to be used as a new therapeutic intervention against melanoma.

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