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

Arginase activity in human breast cancer cell lines: N(omega)-hydroxy-L-arginine selectively inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 cells.

L-Arginine is the common substrate for two enzymes, arginase and nitric oxide synthase ( NOS). Arginase converts L-arginine to L-ornithine, which is the precursor of polyamines, which are essential components of cell proliferation. NOS converts L-arginine to produce NO, which inhibits proliferation of many cell lines. Various human breast cancer cell lines were initially screened for the presence of arginase and NOS. Two cell lines, BT-474 and MDA-MB-468, were found to have relatively high arginase activity and very low NOS activity. Another cell line, ZR-75-30, had the highest NOS activity and comparatively low arginase activity. The basal proliferation rates of MDA-MB-468 and BT-474 were found to be higher than the ZR-75-30 cell line. N-Hydroxy-L-arginine (NOHA), a stable intermediate product formed during conversion of L-arginine to NO, inhibited proliferation of the high arginase-expressing MDA-MB-468 cells and induced apoptosis after 48 h. NOHA arrested these cells in the S phase, increased the expression of p21, and reduced spermine content. These effects of NOHA were not observed in the ZR-75-30 cell line, which expresses high NOS and relatively low arginase. The effects of NOHA were antagonized in the presence of L-ornithine (500 microM), which suggests that in MDA-MB-468 cell line, the arginase pathway is very important for cell proliferation. Inhibition of the arginase pathway led to depletion of intracellular spermine and apoptosis as observed by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (Tdt)-mediated nick end labeling assay and induction of caspase 3. In contrast, the ZR-75-30 cell line maintained its viability and its L-ornithine and spermine levels in the presence of NOHA. We conclude that NOHA has antiproliferative and apoptotic actions on arginase-expressing human breast cancer cells that are independent of NO.[1]


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