Journal Article

Roles of JNK, p38 and ERK mitogen-activated protein kinases in the growth inhibition and apoptosis induced by cadmium

Show-Mei Chuang, I-Ching Wang and Jia-Ling Yang

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 21, issue 7, pages 1423-1432
Published in print July 2000 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online July 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/21.7.1423
Roles of JNK, p38 and ERK mitogen-activated protein kinases in the growth inhibition and apoptosis induced by cadmium

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Cadmium (Cd), a human carcinogen, can induce apoptosis in various cell types. Three major mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), c-JUN N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), have been shown to regulate apoptosis. In this study we explore the ability of Cd to activate JNK, p38 and ERK, including their effects on Cd-mediated growth inhibition and apoptosis in a human non-small cell lung carcinoma cell line, CL3. The kinase activity of JNK was induced dose-dependently by 30–160 μM CdCl2. High cytotoxic doses of Cd (130–160 μM) markedly activated p38, but low Cd doses did not. Conversely, the activities of ERK1 and ERK2 were decreased by low cytotoxic doses of Cd (≤80 μM) and moderately activated by high Cd doses. Low cytotoxic doses of Cd transiently activated JNK and simultaneously reduced ERK activity, whereas high cytotoxic doses of Cd persistently activated JNK and p38. PD98059, an inhibitor of ERK upstream activators MAPK kinase (MKK) 1 and MKK2, greatly enhanced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in cells treated with low Cd doses. In contrast, SB202190, an inhibitor of p38, decreased the cytotoxicity and apoptosis induced by high Cd doses. Transient expression of a dominant negative form of JNK1, but not that of JNK2, significantly increased the viability and prevented apoptosis of Cd-treated cells. However, expression of wild-type JNK1 did not affect viability and apoptosis of Cd-treated cells. Transfection of wild-type JNK2 or p38 enhanced apoptosis of cells exposed to low Cd doses but did not affect those exposed to high Cd doses. The JNK activity stimulated by low Cd doses was partially suppressed by expression of a dominant negative form of MKK7, but not a dominant negative form of MKK4, indicating that MKK7 is involved in JNK activation by Cd. Together, the results of this study suggest that JNK and p38 cooperatively participate in apoptosis induced by Cd and that the decreased ERK signal induced by low Cd doses contributes to growth inhibition or apoptosis.

Keywords: ERK, extracellular signal-regulated kinase; FITC, fluorescein isothiocyanate; GST, glutathione S-transferase; JNK, c-JUN N-terminal kinase; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; MKK, MAPK kinase; MKP, MAPK phosphatase; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethyl-thiazol-2-yl) 2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline.

Journal Article.  8571 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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