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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Decrease in susceptibility toward induction of apoptosis and alteration in G1 checkpoint function as determinants of resistance of human lung cancer cells against the antisignaling drug UCN-01 (7-Hydroxystaurosporine).

7-Hydroxystaurosporine (UCN-01) is a protein kinase inhibitor that is under development as an anticancer agent in the United States and Japan. Long-term exposure of human A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells to UCN-01 furnished cells (A549/ UCN) with acquired resistance against UCN-01. In this study, the sensitivity of these cells toward the growth-arresting properties of certain conventional cytotoxic agents was explored. Cells were not cross-resistant against adriamycin, Taxol, staurosporine, and UCN-02, but they displayed 14- and 4.4-fold resistance against cisplatin and mitomycin C, respectively. Previous studies on the mechanism(s) of action of UCN-01 suggest that induction of apoptosis and G1 phase accumulation are important for its anticancer activity; therefore, we compared induction of apoptosis and cell cycle distribution caused by UCN-01 in wild-type A549 and A549/ UCN cells using flow cytometry. UCN-01 (0.4 microM) induced apoptosis (62% terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling-positive cells) in A549 cells, but not in A549/ UCN cells. The percentages of cells that accumulated in G1 when exposed to UCN-01 (0.4 microM) were 22% in A549 cells and 67% in A549/ UCN cells. These results suggest that acquired resistance of cancer cells against UCN-01 is characterized by attenuation of apoptosis induction associated with reinforcement of the G1 checkpoint and that apoptosis regulation is drastically altered in A549/ UCN cells as compared with A549 cells. Cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor proteins p21 and p27 in A549/ UCN cells were up-regulated, which was accompanied by overexpression of G1 cyclins D1 and E, but UCN-01 hardly affected levels of these proteins. In contrast, cyclin A, cyclin B1, retinoblastoma, and CDK2 proteins were apparently down-regulated, without changes in CDK4/6. UCN-01 hardly affected the expression level of cyclin B1 and induced dephosphorylation of retinoblastoma in both cell types. UCN-01 induced down-regulation of cyclin A level and CDK2 activity accompanied with its dephosphorylation in A549/ UCN cells, but not in A549 cells. The antiapoptotic protein bcl-2 was apparently up-regulated in A549/ UCN cells, however, bcl-xL, another antiapoptotic protein, was down-regulated, without changes in bak and bax. Taken together, these results are consistent with the notion that induction of apoptosis and block of cell cycle in G1 are important determinants of the sensitivity of cancer cells to UCN-01 and suggest that inhibition of CDK2 activity accompanied by its dephosphorylation and decrease of expression level of cyclin A might play an important role in the G1 phase accumulation induced by UCN-01.[1]


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