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FEBS Lett. 2003 Dec 4;555(2):217-22.

Involvement of Akt in mitochondria-dependent apoptosis induced by a cdc25 phosphatase inhibitor naphthoquinone analog.

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Division of Biochemistry, College of Pharmacy, Chung-Ang University, Seoul 156-756, South Korea.


Vitamin K-related analogs induce growth inhibition via a cell cycle arrest through cdc25A phosphatase inhibition in various cancer cell lines. We report that 2,3-dichloro-5,8-dihydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DDN), a naphthoquinone analog, induces mitochondria-dependent apoptosis in human promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. DDN induced cytochrome c release, Bax translocation, cleavage of Bid and Bad, and activation of caspase-3, -8, -9 upon the induction of apoptosis. Cleavage of Bid, the caspase-8 substrate, was inhibited by the broad caspase inhibitor z-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-fluoromethylketone (zVAD-fmk), whereas cytochrome c release was not affected, suggesting that activation of caspase-8 and subsequent Bid cleavage occur downstream of cytochrome c release. DDN inhibited the activation of Akt detected by decreasing level of phosphorylation. Overexpression of constitutively active Akt protected cells from DDN-induced apoptosis, while dominant negative Akt moderately enhanced cell death. Furthermore, Akt prevented release of cytochrome c and cleavage of Bad in DDN-treated HL-60 cells. Taken together, DDN-induced apoptosis is associated with mitochondrial signaling which involves cytochrome c release via a mechanism inhibited by Akt.

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