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J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 29;275(39):29980-5.

Vinblastine-induced phosphorylation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL is mediated by JNK and occurs in parallel with inactivation of the Raf-1/MEK/ERK cascade.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205, USA.


Microtubule-damaging agents arrest cells at G(2)/M and induce apoptosis in association with phosphorylation of the anti-apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L). Because microtubule inhibitors activate JNK, we sought to determine whether JNK was responsible for Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L) phosphorylation in KB-3 cells treated with vinblastine. Two major endogenous forms of JNK, p46(JNK1) and p54(JNK2), were present in KB-3 cells, and both isoforms were activated by vinblastine as determined by Mono Q chromatography. We used antisense oligonucleotides (AS) to specifically inhibit their expression. A combination of AS-JNK1 with AS-JNK2 inhibited by 80% vinblastine-induced phosphorylation of two known JNK substrates, c-Jun and ATF-2. In addition, AS-JNK1/2 inhibited vinblastine-induced phosphorylation of Bcl-2 by 85% and that of Bcl-X(L) by 65%. Stable expression of the JNK scaffold protein JIP-1 blocked vinblastine-induced phosphorylation of c-Jun and ATF-2, but did not affect Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L) phosphorylation, confirming a bifurcation in JNK signaling involving both nuclear and non-nuclear substrates. Vinblastine-induced phosphorylation of Raf-1 was unaffected by AS-JNK1/2 and was associated with loss of activity for MEK substrate in vitro and inactivation of ERK in vivo. These results provide evidence for a direct role of the JNK pathway in apoptotic regulation through Bcl-2/Bcl-X(L) phosphorylation.

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