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Cell Growth Differ. 1997 Mar;8(3):327-34.

Effects of rottlerin, an inhibitor of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase III, on cellular proliferation, viability, and cell cycle distribution in malignant glioma cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway 08854-5638, USA.


Calmodulin-dependent protein kinases phosphorylate certain substrates that have been implicated in regulating cellular proliferation. For example, upon mitogenic stimulation, there is a rapid activation of calmodulin-dependent protein kinase III (CaM kinase III), which leads to the phosphorylation of elongation factor 2. Recently, our laboratory demonstrated that the activity of CaM kinase III is increased in glioma cells following exposure to mitogens and is diminished or absent in nonproliferating glial tissue. Rottlerin, a 5,7-dihydroxy-2,2-dimethyl-6-(2,4,6-trihydroxy-3-methyl-5-acetylbenzy l)-8-cinnamoyl-1,2-chromene isolated from the pericarps of Mallotus phillippinensis, has been shown to be an effective CaM kinase III inhibitor. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of rottlerin on the growth and viability of glioblastoma cell lines. Rottlerin decreased growth and induced cytotoxicity in rat (C6) and two human gliomas (T98G and U138MG) at concentrations that inhibited the activity of CaM kinase III in vitro and in vivo. Far less demonstrable effects were observed on other Ca2++/CaM-sensitive kinases. Incubation of glial cells with rottlerin produced a block at the G1-S interface and the appearance of a population of cells with a <2N complement of DNA. In addition, rottlerin induced changes in cellular morphology such as cell shrinkage, accumulation of cytoplasmic vacuoles, and packaging of cellular components within membranes. These data suggest that CaM kinase III may be an important link between the activation of CaM-dependent signaling, proliferation, and viability in malignant cells, and that inhibition of CaM kinase III may represent an interesting pharmacological target in malignant gliomas.

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