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J Biol Chem. 2001 Dec 28;276(52):48997-9002. Epub 2001 Oct 3.

Cyclooxygenase-2 inducing Mcl-1-dependent survival mechanism in human lung adenocarcinoma CL1.0 cells. Involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei 100, Taiwan.


Cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) has been reported to be commonly expressed in advanced stages of human lung adenocarcinoma. In this study, the COX-2 constitutive expression vector was transfected into a human lung adenocarcinoma cell line CL1.0 and several clones were obtained which stably expressed COX-2. These COX-2-overexpressed clones demonstrated remarkable resistance to apoptosis induced by Ultraviolet B (UVB) irradiation, vinblastine B (VBL) cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2), or other anti-cancer drugs. To understand how COX-2 prevents apoptosis, the investigators examined the expression level of Bcl-2 family members. Mcl-1, but not other Bcl-2 members, was significantly up-regulated by COX-2 transfection or prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) treatment. Treatment of COX-2-overexpressed cells (cox-2/cl.4) with two specific COX-2 inhibitors, NS-398 and celecoxib, caused an effective reduction of the increased level of Mcl-1. These data suggest that the expression level of Mcl-1 is tightly regulated by COX-2. Moreover, transfection of cox-2/cl.4 cells with antisense Mcl-1 enhanced apoptosis induced by UVB irradiation, revealing that Mcl-1 plays a crucial role in cell survival activity mediated by COX-2. Furthermore, COX-2 transfection or PGE(2) treatment evidently activated the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway. Inhibition of the PI3K pathway by LY294002 or wortmannin effectively attenuated the increased level of Mcl-1 induced by COX-2 or PGE(2). Blocking the PI3K activity with a dominant-negative vector, DN-p85, also greatly diminished the level of Mcl-1 and enhanced UVB-elicited cell death in cells transfected by COX-2. In a similar way, LY294002 inhibited cell survival and Mcl-1 level in PGE(2)-treated CL1.0 cells. These findings suggest that COX-2 promotes cell survival by up-regulating the level of Mcl-1 by activating the PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway.

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