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

Sodium 4-phenylbutyrate induces apoptosis of human lung carcinoma cells through activating JNK pathway.

Sodium 4-phenylbutyrate (PB) has been used in the therapy of urea cycle defects for many years. Recently, it has been shown to cause cellular differentiation, growth arrest, and apoptosis in certain malignancies. We have analyzed the effects of PB on human lung carcinoma cells. PB has distinct patterns of effects on different lung carcinoma cells, inducing apoptosis in NCI-H460 and NCI-H1792 cells, causing G1 arrest in A549 and SK-LU-1 cells, but having no effect on a non-transformed bronchial epithelial cell line HBE4-E6/E7. We investigated the role of MAP kinase family members, extracellular signal-regulated kinase ( ERK), JNK, and p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase ( MAPK), as well as other important cell survival signaling molecules in PB-induced apoptosis. We observed activation of JNK and ERK by PB in the lung cancer cells. JNK was activated only in the two apoptotic cells, whereas ERK was activated in both the apoptotic and the growth-arrested cells, demonstrating a correlation between apoptosis and activation of JNK in response to PB. Both JNK inhibitor and JNK RNA interference (RNAi) inhibited PB-induced apoptosis, whereas MEK inhibitor did not, supporting that apoptosis induced by PB is through activation of JNK. De novo protein synthesis is required for the PB-induced JNK activation and induction of apoptosis. However, the production of known upstream activators of JNK, namely Fas/Fas ligand, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, TNF-beta, and TRAIL, are not altered by PB treatment. Therefore, PB activates JNK through an unidentified and cell type-specific mechanism. Understanding of this mechanism is of therapeutic value in treating cancer patients with PB.[1]


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