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Cancer Res. 2004 Oct 15;64(20):7513-25.

Modulation of gene expression in human central nervous system tumors under methionine deprivation-induced stress.

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  • 1The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and the Department of Pathology, Hillman Cancer Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.


Methionine deprivation imposes a metabolic stress, termed methionine stress, that inhibits mitosis and induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. The methionine-dependent central nervous system tumor cell lines DAOY (medulloblastoma), SWB61 (anaplastic oligodendroglioma), SWB40 (anaplastic astrocytoma), and SWB39 (glioblastoma multiforme) were compared with methionine-stress resistant SWB77 (glioblastoma multiforme). The cDNA-oligoarray analysis and reverse transcription-PCR verification indicated common changes in gene expression in methionine-dependent cell lines to include up-regulation/induction of cyclin D1, mitotic arrest deficient (MAD)1, p21, growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible (GADD)45 alpha, GADD45 gamma, GADD34, breast cancer (BRCA)1, 14-3-3sigma, B-cell CLL/lymphoma (BCL)1, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, TGF-beta-induced early response (TIEG), SMAD5, SMAD7, SMAD2, insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP7), IGF-R2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), TNF-alpha converting enzyme (TACE), TRAIL receptor (TRAIL-R)2, TNFR-related death receptor (DR)6, TRAF interacting protein (I-TRAF), IL-6, MDA7, IL-1B convertase (ICE)-gamma, delta and epsilon, IRF1, IRF5, IRF7, interferon (IFN)-gamma and receptor components, ISG15, p65-NF-kappaB, JUN-B, positive cofactor (PC)4, C/ERB-beta, inositol triphosphate receptor I, and methionine adenosyltransferase II. On the other hand, cyclins A1, A2, B1 and B2, cell division cycle (CDC)2 and its kinase, CDC25 A and B, budding uninhibited by benzimidazoles (BUB)1 and 3, MAD2, CDC28 protein kinase (CKS)1 and 2, neuroepithelial cell transforming gene (NET)1, activator of S-phase kinase (ASK), CDC14B phosphatase, BCL2, TGF-beta activated kinase (TAK)1, TAB1, c-FOS, DNA topoisomerase II, DNA polymerase alpha, dihydrofolate reductase, thymidine kinase, stathmin, and MAP4 were down-regulated. In the methionine stress-resistant SWB77, only 20% of the above genes were affected, and then only to a lesser extent. In addition, some of the changes observed in SWB77 were opposite to those seen in methionine-dependent tumors, including expression of p21, TRAIL-R2, and TIEG. Despite similarities, differences between methionine-dependent tumors were substantial, especially in regard to regulation of cytokine expression. Western blot analysis confirmed that methionine stress caused the following: (a) a marked increase of GADD45alpha and gamma in the wt-p53 cell lines SWB61 and 40; (b) an increase in GADD34 and p21 protein in all of the methionine-dependent lines; and (c) the induction of MDA7 and phospho-p38 in DAOY and SWB39, consistent with marked transcriptional activation of the former under methionine stress. It was additionally shown that methionine stress down-regulated the highly active phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase pathway by reducing AKT phosphorylation, especially in DAOY and SWB77, and also reduced the levels of retinoblastoma (Rb) and pRb (P-ser780, P-ser795, and P-ser807/811), resulting in a shift in favor of unphosphorylated species in all of the methionine-dependent lines. Immunohistochemical analysis showed marked inhibition of nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappaB under methionine stress in methionine-dependent lines. In this study we show for the first time that methionine stress mobilizes several defined cell cycle checkpoints and proapoptotic pathways while coordinately inhibiting prosurvival mechanisms in central nervous system tumors. It is clear that methionine stress-induced cytotoxicity is not restricted by the p53 mutational status.

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