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

Inhibition of glutathione synthesis overcomes Bcl-2-mediated topoisomerase inhibitor resistance and induces nonapoptotic cell death via mitochondrial-independent pathway.

Bcl-2 protein plays a critical role in inhibiting anticancer drug-induced apoptosis. We found that Bcl-2 overexpression is associated with a nearly 3-fold increase in cellular glutathione levels and with increased resistance to cell death after treatment with etoposide or SN-38, a derivative of camptothecin, in leukemia 697 cells with wild-type p53. Treatment of Bcl-2-overexpressing 697 cells (697-Bcl-2) with buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis, reduced cellular glutathione levels and completely abolished Bcl-2-mediated drug resistance. Morphologic studies revealed that nonapoptotic cell death was induced in 697-Bcl-2 cells after treatment with BSO plus etoposide or SN-38. Activation of caspase-3/7 and cytochrome c release could not be detected in 697-Bcl-2 cells after these drug treatments. Notably, we showed that proteasome-mediated down-regulation of Puma and Noxa proteins occurs in 697-Bcl-2 cells after treatment with BSO plus topoisomerase inhibitor, although there is an increase in the protein levels of p53 in these 697-Bcl-2 cells. In contrast, parental 697 cells underwent typical apoptosis with up-regulation of Puma and Noxa proteins, followed by cytochrome c release and caspase-3/7 activation after treatment with topoisomerase inhibitor in the presence or absence of BSO. Our data suggest that BSO may possess a unique activity to overcome Bcl-2-mediated drug resistance by stimulating the signals that can bypass mitochondrial process in Bcl-2-overexpressing cells.[1]


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