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Oncol Lett. 2014 Sep;8(3):1051-1057. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Human cytomegalovirus inhibits apoptosis by regulating the activating transcription factor 5 signaling pathway in human malignant glioma cells.

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Department of Microbiology, Qingdao University Medical College, Qingdao, Shandong 266071, P.R. China.


The activating transcription factor 5 (ATF5), also termed ATFx, is a member of the ATF/cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) family of basic zipper proteins. ATF5 is an anti-apoptotic protein that is highly expressed in malignant glioma and is essential for glioma cell survival. Accumulating evidence indicates that human malignant gliomas are universally infected with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). Recent studies have shown that HCMV may be resistant to the induction of apoptosis by disrupting cellular pathways in glioblastoma. To investigate the potential anti-apoptotic function of HCMV in glioma, malignant U87 glioma cells were infected with HCMV. The present study showed that HCMV infection suppressed apoptosis in glioblastoma U87 cells by regulating the expression of ATF5. Furthermore, in glioblastoma U87 cells, HCMV infection induced cellular proliferation in parallel with an increase in the expression level of ATF5 and B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 to Bcl-2-associated X protein ratio. Loss of ATF5 function was achieved using a dominant-negative form of ATF5 in U87 cells, whereby cells appeared to grow marginally following HCMV infection when compared with the control. However, the anti-apoptotic ability was appeared to decline in the terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling assay. These results indicate that ATF5 signaling pathways may be important in the anti-apoptotic activity of HCMV-infected glioblastoma cells; therefore, the anti-apoptotic molecular mechanisms of HCMV in human glioblastoma cells were investigated in the current study. Prevention of HCMV infection may present a potential and promising approach for the treatment of malignant gliomas.


activating transcription factor 5; apoptosis; glioblastoma cells; human cytomegalovirus infection

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