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Exp Cell Res. 2011 Jan 1;317(1):117-30. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.08.010. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Isoforms of p38MAPK gamma and delta contribute to differentiation of human AML cells induced by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D₃.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, UMDNJ-New Jersey, Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA.


Inhibition of p38MAPK alpha/beta is known to enhance 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin (1,25D)-induced monocytic differentiation, but the detailed mechanism of this effect was not clear. We now show that the enhancement of differentiation becomes apparent with slow kinetics (12-24 h). Interestingly, the inhibition of p38MAPK alpha/beta by their selective inhibitor SB202190 (SB) leads to an upregulated expression of p38MAPK isoforms gamma and delta in 1,25D-treated AML cells, in cell lines and in primary culture. Although the expression and activating phosphorylations of p38MAPK alpha are also increased by an exposure of the cells to SB, its kinase activity is blocked by SB, as shown by reduced levels of phosphorylated Hsp27, a downstream target of p38MAPK alpha. A positive role of p38MAPKs in 1,25D-induced differentiation is shown by the inhibition of differentiation by antisense oligonucleotides to all p38MAPK isoforms. Other principal branches of MAPK pathways showed early (6 h) activation of MEK/ERK by SB, followed by activation of JNK1/2 pathway and enhanced expression and/or activation of PU.1, ATF-2 differentiation-related transcription factors. Taken together with previous reports, the results indicate that 1,25D-induced differentiation is enhanced by the activation of at least three branches of MAPK pathways (ERK1/2; p38MAPK gamma/delta; JNK1/2). This activation may result from the removal of feedback inhibition of an upstream regulator of those pathways, when p38MAPK alpha and beta are inhibited by SB.

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