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Cancer Res. 2006 Apr 15;66(8):4285-90.

Bone morphogenetic protein 7 protects prostate cancer cells from stress-induced apoptosis via both Smad and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase pathways.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA.


We reported earlier that exposure to exogenous bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) could strongly inhibit serum starvation-induced apoptosis to C4-2B cell line, a variant of the LNCaP human prostate cancer cell line with propensity for bone metastasis. Whereas serum starvation suppressed the expression of survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family, its expression was sustained in the presence of BMP7. In this study, we present evidence that BMP7 exposure up-regulated survivin promoter activity, an effect that was associated with activation of Smad, and could be repressed by dominant-negative Smad5. Additionally, serum starvation-induced suppression of c-jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) activity in C4-2B cells could be mostly restored by BMP7, and a JNK inhibitor could counteract the antiapoptotic effect of BMP7, without a significant effect on the level of survivin expression. Thus, we identified JNK pathway as another signaling mode for the antiapoptotic function of BMP7. To test the effect of endogenous up-regulation of BMP7, we genetically modulated the C4-2B cell line to overexpress BMP7 protein. Not only was this altered cell line resistant to serum starvation-induced apoptosis but it also exhibited patterns of Smad activation, survivin up-regulation, and JNK activation similar to those of the parental C4-2B cells exposed to exogenous BMP7. Consistent with these in vitro findings of BMP7 action, we acquired correlative results of Smad activation, survivin expression, and JNK activation in the progression of prostate cancer in the conditional Pten deletion mouse model, in which we first obtained the evidence of BMP7 overexpression.

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