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

The role of mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in determining cellular outcomes in polyamine analogue-treated human melanoma cells.

The clinically relevant polyamine analogue N(1),N(11)-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) inhibits cell growth by down-regulating polyamine biosynthesis, up-regulating polyamine catabolism at the level of spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT), and depleting intracellular polyamine pools. Among human melanoma cell lines, the analogue causes rapid apoptosis in SK-MEL-28 cells and a sharp G(1) arrest in MALME-3M cells. This study reveals that DENSPM potently activates the mitogen-activated protein kinase ( MAPK) pathways in melanoma cells and investigates the role of this response in determining cellular outcomes. Onset of apoptosis was preceded by an intense phosphorylation of the MAPKs, including extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase, and p38 in both SK-MEL-28 and MALME-3M cells. A panel of DENSPM analogues differing only in their ability to induce SSAT was used to show that MAPK activation was causally linked to induction of SSAT activity and related oxidative events. The latter was confirmed with the polyamine oxidase inhibitor MDL-75275 and the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine, which when used in combination with DENSPM, decreased MAPK activation and as previously shown, reduced apoptosis. The MAP/extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1 inhibitor PD 98059 reduced activation of all three kinases but failed to alter apoptosis in DENSPM-treated SK-MEL-28 cells. By contrast, the inhibitor prevented p21(waf1/cip1) induction and enhanced apoptosis in MALME-3M cells as indicated by accelerated caspase-3 activation and positive annexin V staining. The generality of this effect was demonstrated in DENSPM-treated A375 and LOX human melanoma cells. Taken together, the importance of the MAPK pathways in determining the biological response to DENSPM treatment is dependent on the genetic environment of the cell.[1]


  1. The role of mitogen-activated protein kinase activation in determining cellular outcomes in polyamine analogue-treated human melanoma cells. Chen, Y., Alm, K., Vujcic, S., Kramer, D.L., Kee, K., Diegelman, P., Porter, C.W. Cancer Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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