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Am J Pathol. 2000 Dec;157(6):1937-45.

Inhibition of MAP kinase kinase causes morphological reversion and dissociation between soft agar growth and in vivo tumorigenesis in angiosarcoma cells.

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Department of Dermatology and Emory Skin Disease Research Core Center Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Activated ras causes increased activity of several signal transduction systems, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPKK) pathway and the phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI-3-K) pathway. We have previously shown that the PI-3-K pathway plays a major role in regulation of ras-mediated tumor angiogenesis in angiosarcoma cells. However, the contribution of the MAPKK pathway to tumorigenesis and angiogenesis is not fully understood. Overexpression of constitutively active forms of MAPKK has previously been shown to transform nonmalignant NIH3T3 fibroblasts, but the effect of down-regulation of MAPKK on tumorigenesis and angiogenesis in a well established tumor has not been fully explored. We introduced a dominant negative MAPKK gene into SVR murine angiosarcoma cells. Introduction of a dominant negative MAPKK causes a significant decrease in proliferation rate in vitro and morphological reversion. Cells expressing the dominant negative MAPKK have a greatly decreased ability to form colonies in soft agar compared with wild-type cells. Despite the decreased cell growth in vitro and inability to grow in soft agar, the cells were equally tumorigenic in nude mice. Our results suggest that the MAPKK pathway is required for soft agar growth of angiosarcoma cells, and separates the phenotypes of soft agar growth versus in vivo tumorigenicity. These findings have implications in the development of signal transduction modulators as potential antineoplastic agents.

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