Phorbol myristate acetate inhibits okadaic acid-induced apoptosis and downregulation of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis in U937 cells.

Research paper by T K TK Kwon

Indexed on: 11 Sep '01Published on: 11 Sep '01Published in: Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications


Okadaic acid is a specific inhibitor of serine/threonine protein phosphatase 1 (PP-1) and 2A (PP-2A). The phosphorylation and dephosphorylation at the serine/threonine residues on proteins play important roles in regulating gene expression, cell cycle progression, and apoptosis. In this study, phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid induces apoptosis in U937 cells via a mechanism that appears to involve caspase 3 activation, but not modulation of Bcl-2, Bax, and Bcl-X(L) expression levels. Treatment with 20 or 40 nM okadaic acid for 24 h produced DNA fragmentation in U937 cells. This was associated with caspase 3 activation and PLC-gamma1 degradation. Okadaic acid-induced caspase 3 activation and PLC-gamma1 degradation and apoptosis were dose-dependent with a maximal effect at a concentration of 40 nM. Moreover, PMA (phorbol myristate acetate), PKC (protein kinase C) activator, protected U937 cells from okadaic acid-induced apoptosis, abrogated okadaic acid-induced caspase 3 activation, and specifically inhibited downregulation of XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis) by okadaic acid. PMA cotreated U937 cells exhibited less cytochrome c release and sustained expression levels of the IAP (inhibitor of apoptosis) proteins during okadaic acid-induced apoptosis. In addition, these findings indicate that PMA inhibits okadaic acid-induced apoptosis by a mechanism that interferes with cytochrome c release and activity of caspase 3 that is involved in the execution of apoptosis.