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Cell Death Differ. 2008 May;15(5):867-78. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2008.3. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Redox regulation of anoikis: reactive oxygen species as essential mediators of cell survival.

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  • 1Department of Biochemical Sciences, University of Florence, Florence, Italy.


Proper attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM) is essential for cell survival. The loss of integrin-mediated cell-ECM contact results in an apoptotic process termed anoikis. However, mechanisms involved in regulation of cell survival are poorly understood and mediators responsible for anoikis have not been well characterized. Here, we demonstrate that reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced through the involvement of the small GTPase Rac-1 upon integrin engagement exert a mandatory role in transducing a pro-survival signal that ensures that cells escape from anoikis. In particular, we show that ROS are responsible for the redox-mediated activation of Src that trans-phosphorylates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in a ligand-independent manner. The redox-dependent phosphorylation of EGFR activates both extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase and Akt downstream signalling pathways, culminating in degradation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bim. Hence, our results shed new light on the mechanism granting the adhesion-dependent antiapoptotic effect, highlighting a fundamental role of ROS-mediated Src regulation in ensuring anoikis protection.

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