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Oncogene. 2006 Jul 6;25(29):4056-66. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

Regulation of PUMA-alpha by p53 in cisplatin-induced renal cell apoptosis.

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Department of Cellular Biology and Anatomy, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA 30912, USA.


Nephrotoxicity is a major side effect of cisplatin, a widely used cancer therapy drug. Depending on its concentration, cisplatin induces necrosis or apoptosis of tubular cells in the kidneys, whereas the underlying injury mechanism is unclear. Our recent work has suggested a critical role for p53 in cisplatin-induced tubular cell apoptosis; nevertheless, the apoptotic events triggered by p53 remain elusive. The current study has examined Bcl-2 family proteins, critical regulators of apoptosis that may be subjected to p53 regulation. Following cisplatin treatment, the expression of Bcl-xL, an antiapoptotic molecule, was suppressed, while the expression of Bak, a proapoptotic molecule, increased slightly. Of interest, PUMA-alpha, a newly identified p53-responsive proapoptotic Bcl-2 family protein, was drastically induced by cisplatin. PUMA-alpha induction preceded or paralleled the development of apoptosis. Induced PUMA-alpha was localized in mitochondria and appeared to antagonize Bcl-xL via molecular interaction. PUMA-alpha induction during cisplatin treatment was attenuated by pifithrin-alpha, a pharmacological inhibitor of p53, which was accompanied by the amelioration of Bax activation, cytochrome c release and apoptosis. Moreover, PUMA-alpha induction was suppressed by dominant-negative p53. Importantly, cisplatin-induced apoptosis was ameliorated in PUMA-alpha knockout cells. In vivo, cisplatin induced PUMA-alpha in the kidneys, and the inductive response was abrogated in p53-deficient animals. Together, this study has demonstrated the first compelling evidence for the involvement of PUMA-alpha in p53-mediated renal cell apoptosis during cisplatin nephrotoxicity.

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