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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 27;278(26):23630-8. Epub 2003 Apr 24.

Evidence that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase- and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase-4/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase-dependent Pathways cooperate to maintain lung cancer cell survival.

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  • 1Departments of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Cancer cells in which the PTEN lipid phosphatase gene is deleted have constitutively activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent signaling and require activation of this pathway for survival. In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, PI3K-dependent signaling is typically activated through mechanisms other than PTEN gene loss. The role of PI3K in the survival of cancer cells that express wild-type PTEN has not been defined. Here we provide evidence that H1299 NSCLC cells, which express wild-type PTEN, underwent proliferative arrest following treatment with an inhibitor of all isoforms of class I PI3K catalytic activity (LY294002) or overexpression of the PTEN lipid phosphatase. In contrast, overexpression of a dominant-negative mutant of the p85alpha regulatory subunit of PI3K (Deltap85) induced apoptosis. Whereas PTEN and Delta85 both inhibited activation of AKT/protein kinase B, only Deltap85 inhibited c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) activity. Cotransfection of the constitutively active mutant Rac-1 (Val12), an upstream activator of JNK, abrogated Deltap85-induced lung cancer cell death, whereas constitutively active mutant mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MKK)-1 (R4F) did not. Furthermore, LY294002 induced apoptosis of MKK4-null but not wild-type mouse embryo fibroblasts. Therefore, we propose that, in the setting of wild-type PTEN, PI3K- and MKK4/JNK-dependent pathways cooperate to maintain cell survival.

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