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Cell Signal. 2013 Jan;25(1):308-18. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2012.10.004. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Bortezomib/proteasome inhibitor triggers both apoptosis and autophagy-dependent pathways in melanoma cells.

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Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U 977, France.

Erratum in

  • Cell Signal. 2015 Mar;27(3):727.
  • Cell Signal. 2015 May;27(5):1019-1020.


Generally, both endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysregulation are a potential therapeutic target of anticancer agents including bortezomib. The treatment of melanoma cells with bortezomib was found to induce apoptosis together with the upregulation of Noxa, Mcl-1, and HSP70 proteins, and the cleavage of LC3 and autophagic formation. Also, bortezomib induced ER-stress as evidenced by the increase of intracellular Ca(2+) release. In addition, bortezomib enhanced the phosphorylation of inositol-requiring transmembrane kinase and endonuclease 1α (IRE1α), apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1), c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38, and the activation of the transcription factors AP-1, ATF-2, Ets-1, and HSF1. Bortezomib-induced mitochondrial dysregulation was associated with the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the release of both apoptosis inducing factor (AIF) and cytochrome c, the activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3, and cleavage of Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). The pretreatment of melanoma cells with the inhibitor of caspase-3 (Ac-DEVD-CHO) was found to block bortezomib-induced apoptosis that subsequently led to the increase of autophagic formation. In contrast, the inhibition of ASK1 abrogated bortezomib-induced autophagic formation and increased apoptosis induction. Furthermore, the inhibition of JNK, of HSP70 also increased apoptosis induction without influence of bortezomib-induced autophagic formation. Based on the inhibitory experiments, the treatment with bortezomib triggers the activation of both ER-stress-associated pathways, namely IRE1α-ASK1-p38-ATF-2/ets-1-Mcl-1, and IRE1α-ASK1-JNK-AP-1/HSF1-HSP70 as well as mitochondrial dysregulation-associated pathways, namely ROS-ASK1-JNK-AP-1/HSF1-HS70, and AIF-caspase-3-PARP and Cyt.c, and caspase-9-caspase-3-PARP. Taken together, our data demonstrates for the first time the molecular mechanisms, whereby bortezomib triggers both apoptosis and autophagic formation in melanoma cells.

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