JOURNAL ARTICLE

Activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) mediates plumbagin-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition in cultured human colon cancer cells

Min-Bin Chen, Yan Zhang, Mu-Xin Wei, Wei Shen, Xiao-Yang Wu, Chen Yao, Pei-Hua Lu
Cellular Signalling 2013, 25 (10): 1993-2002
23712032
Here we report that activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) mediates plumbagin-induced apoptosis and growth inhibition in both primary cultured human colon cancer cells and cell lines. Knocking-down of AMPKα by the target shRNA significantly inhibits plumbagin-induced cytotoxicity in cultured colon cancer cells, while forced activation of AMPK by introducing a constitutively active AMPK (CA-AMPK), or by the AMPK activator, inhibits HT-29 colon cancer cell growth. Our Western-blots and immunoprecipitation (IP) results demonstrate that plumbagin induces AMPK/Apoptosis signal regulating kinase 1 (ASK1)/TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) association to activate pro-apoptotic c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK)-p53 signal axis. Further, after plumbagin treatment, activated AMPK directly phosphorylates Raptor to inhibit mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) activation and Bcl-2 expression in colon cancer cells. Finally, we found that exogenously-added short-chain ceramide (C6) enhances plumbagin-induced AMPK activation and facilitates cell apoptosis and growth inhibition. Our results suggest that AMPK might be the key mediator of plumbagin's anti-tumor activity.

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