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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2004 Jul;287(1):L201-9. Epub 2004 Mar 12.

Contribution of caveolin-1 alpha and Akt to TNF-alpha-induced cell death.

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  • 1Division of Translational Research, Kyoto Medical Center, National Hospital Organization, Kyoto 612-8555, Japan.


We used retrovirus insertion-mediated random mutagenesis to generate tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-resistant lines from L929 cells. Using this approach, we discovered that caveolin-1 alpha is required for TNF-alpha-induced cell death in L929 cells. The need for caveolin-1 alpha in TNF-alpha-induced cell death was confirmed by the restoration of sensitivity to TNF-alpha after ectopic reconstitution of caveolin-1 alpha/beta expression. This caveolin-1 alpha-mutated line was also resistant to H(2)O(2) and staurosporine, but not to lonidamine. HepG2 cells are known to lack endogenous caveolins. HepG2 cells stably transfected with caveolin-1 alpha/beta were found to be much more sensitive to TNF-alpha than either parental cells transfected with caveolin-1 beta or parental cells transfected with an empty vector. In contrast to its extensively documented antiapoptotic effect, the elevated activity of Akt appears to be important in sensitizing caveolin-1-expressing cells to TNF-alpha, since pretreatment of cells with the phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY-294002 or wortmannin completely blocked PI3K activation and markedly improved the survival of TNF-alpha-treated L929 cells. The survival rates of caveolin-1 alpha-normal and caveolin-1 alpha-deficient L929 cells were comparable after treatment with PI3K inhibitor and TNF-alpha. Similar results were obtained with HepG2 cells that stably expressed caveolin-1 alpha/beta or -beta and parental cells transfected with an empty vector. In summary, our results indicate that caveolin-1 alpha preferentially sensitizes L929 cells to TNF-alpha through the activation of a PI3K/Akt signaling pathway.

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