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Oncogene. 2002 May 9;21(20):3213-24.

Blocking NF-kappaB activation in Jurkat leukemic T cells converts the survival agent and tumor promoter PMA into an apoptotic effector.

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INSERM U526, Activation des Cellules Hématopoïétiques, Physiologie de la Survie et de la Mort Cellulaires et Infections Virales, IFR 50 Génétique et Signalisation Moléculaires, Faculté de Médicine Pasteur, 06107 Nice cedex 02, France.


The transcription factor NF-kappaB promotes cell survival. Using a variant of Jurkat leukemic T cells expressing IkappaB-alphaDeltaN, a super-repressor of NF-kappaB activation we first show that the tumor promoter PMA could prevent Fas-induced apoptosis via activation of NF-kappaB. Moreover, we demonstrate that in the absence of NF-kappaB activation, PMA became a strong inducer of apoptosis through stimulation of the upstream caspases 8 and 9 as well as of the effector caspase 3. A RNase-protection analysis showed that PMA stimulated the expression of several known anti-apoptotic genes (TRAF1, TRAF4, c-IAP-1, c-IAP-2, Bfl-1, Bcl-xl). In the absence of NF-kappaB activation, these survival influences were strongly lowered revealing the apoptotic effect of PMA. These results suggest that NF-kappaB activation could be an important step in the tumor promoting effect of PMA.

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