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Exp Cell Res. 2005 Oct 15;310(1):10-21.

Requirement of c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation in interferon-alpha-induced apoptosis through upregulation of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in Daudi B lymphoma cells.

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Department of Immunology and Intractable Immunology Research Center, Tokyo Medical University, 6-1-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8402, Japan.


Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) inhibits growth, at least in part, through induction of apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying IFN-alpha-induced apoptosis are not completely understood. In the present study, we found that IFN-alpha induced a sustained activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1), but not extracellular kinases (ERKs), in Daudi B lymphoma cells, as assessed by Western blotting using phospho-specific antibodies. Several lines of evidence support the notion that the IFN-alpha-induced activation of JNK is responsible for IFN-alpha-induced apoptosis, at least in part, through upregulation of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). First, pretreatment of Daudi cells with a JNK inhibitor reduced IFN-alpha-induced upregulation of TRAIL and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) and annexin-positive cells, which was assessed by flow cytometry. Second, a dominant-negative form of JNK1 (dnJNK1) also reduced these apoptotic events, while a constitutively active form of JNK1, MKK7-JNK1beta, enhanced them. Finally, treatment with IFN-alpha enhanced the promoter activity of the TRAIL gene, which was partially abrogated by either JNK inhibitor or dnJNK1, while it was moderately enhanced by MKK7-JNK1beta. These findings are useful for understanding molecular mechanisms of IFN-alpha-induced apoptosis and also for development of treatment modalities of some tumors with IFN-alpha.

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