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Apoptosis. 2014 Dec;19(12):1779-92. doi: 10.1007/s10495-014-1043-7.

Effect of PKCα expression on Bcl-2 phosphorylation and cell death by hypericin.

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Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, University of Pavol Jozef Safarik, Jesenna 5, 041 54, Kosice, Slovak Republic.


In order to explain the contribution of the protein kinase Cα (PKCα) in apoptosis induced by photo-activation of hypericin (Hyp), a small interfering RNA was used for post-transcriptional silencing of pkcα gene expression. We have evaluated the influence of Hyp photo-activation on cell death in non-transfected and transfected (PKCα(-)) human glioma cells (U-87 MG). No significant differences were detected in cell survival between non-transfected and transfected PKCα(-) cells. However, the type of cell death was notably affected by silencing the pkcα gene. Photo-activation of Hyp strongly induced apoptosis in non-transfected cells, but the level of necrotic cells in transfected PKCα(-) cells increased significantly. The differences in cell death after Hyp photo-activation are demonstrated by changes in: (i) reactive oxygen species production, (ii) Bcl-2 phosphorylation on Ser70 (pBcl-2(Ser70)), (iii) cellular distributions of pBcl-2(Ser70) and (iv) cellular distribution of endogenous anti-oxidant glutathione and its co-localization with mitochondria. In summary, we suggest that post-transcriptional silencing of the pkcα gene and the related decrease of PKCα level considerably affects the anti-apoptotic function and the anti-oxidant function of Bcl-2. This implies that PKCα, as Bcl-2 kinase, indirectly protects U-87 MG cells against oxidative stress and subsequent cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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