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Oncogene. 2001 Apr 19;20(17):2178-85.

Repression of GADD153/CHOP by NF-kappaB: a possible cellular defense against endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced cell death.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


Exposure of mammalian cells to ultraviolet light, nutrient deprived culture media, hypoxia, environmental toxicants such as methyl mercury, methyl methanesulfonate, crocodilite asbestos or the agents that disrupt the function of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) leads to activation of the pro-apoptotic transcription factor GADD153/CHOP. Paradoxically, several of these agents also induce the anti-apoptotic transcription factor NF-kappaB. In this report, we demonstrate that NF-kappaB inhibits GADD153 activation in breast cancer cells exposed to nutrient deprived media, tunicamycin (which blocks protein folding in ER) or calcium ionopore (which depletes calcium stores in ER). Basal and calcium ionopore-induced GADD153 expression was more pronounced in fibroblasts obtained from mouse embryos lacking in p65 subunit of NF-kappaB compared to fibroblasts from wild type littermate embryos. Moreover, p65-/- fibroblasts were killed more efficiently by calcium ionopore and tunicamycin but not hydrogen peroxide compared to wild type fibroblasts. We also show that parthenolide, a NF-kappaB inhibitor, sensitizes breast cancer cells to tunicamycin. Transient transfection assay revealed that the p65 subunit but not the p50 subunit of NF-kappaB represses GADD153 promoter activity. These results establish a correlation between repression of pro-apoptotic genes by NF-kappaB and increased cell survival during ER stress as well as identify a distinct NF-kappaB regulated cell survival pathway.

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