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J Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr;228(4):890-902. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24240.

Involvement of Akt2/protein kinase B β (PKBβ) in the 8-Cl-cAMP-induced cancer cell growth inhibition.

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School of Biological Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


8-chloro-cyclic AMP (8-Cl-cAMP), which induces differentiation, growth inhibition, and apoptosis in various cancer cells, has been investigated as a putative anti-cancer drug. However, the exact mechanism of 8-Cl-cAMP functioning in cancer cells is not fully understood. Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) genes (Akt1, Akt2, and Akt3) encode enzymes belonging to the serine/threonine-specific protein kinase family. It has been suggested that Akt/PKB enhances cell survival by inhibiting apoptosis. Recently, we showed that 8-Cl-cAMP and 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleoside (AICAR) inhibited cancer cell growth through the activation of AMPK and p38 MAPK. Therefore, we anticipated that the phosphorylation of Akt/PKB would be decreased upon treatment with 8-Cl-cAMP. However, treatment with 8-Cl-cAMP and AICAR induced the phosphorylation of Akt/PKB, which was inhibited by ABT702 (an adenosine kinase inhibitor) and NBTI (an adenosine transporter inhibitor). Furthermore, whereas Compound C (an AMPK inhibitor), AMPK-DN (AMPK-dominant negative) mutant, and SB203580 (a p38 MAPK inhibitor) did not block the 8-Cl-cAMP-induced phosphorylation of Akt/PKB, TCN (an Akt1/2/3 specific inhibitor) and an Akt2/PKBβ-targeted siRNA inhibited the 8-Cl-cAMP- and AICAR-mediated phosphorylation of AMPK and p38 MAPK. TCN also reversed the growth inhibition mediated by 8-Cl-cAMP and AICAR. Moreover, an Akt1/PKBα-targeted siRNA did not reduce the phosphorylation of AMPK and p38 MAPK after treatment with 8-Cl-cAMP. These results suggest that Akt2/PKBβ activation promotes the phosphorylation of AMPK and p38 MAPK during the 8-Cl-cAMP- and AICAR-induced growth inhibition.

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