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Genes Dev. 1998 Apr 15;12(8):1099-107.

Cytokine rescue of p53-dependent apoptosis and cell cycle arrest is mediated by distinct Jak kinase signaling pathways.

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Department of Biochemistry, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee 38105, USA.


Exposure of hematopoietic progenitors to gamma-irradiation (IR) induces p53-dependent apoptosis and a p53-independent G2/M cell cycle arrest. These responses to DNA-damage can be inhibited by treatment with cytokine growth factors. Here we report that gamma-IR-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest are suppressed by specific cytokines (e.g., erythropoietin and interleukin-3) and that activation of the Jak kinase is necessary and sufficient for these effects. Using myleoid cells expressing a series of erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) mutants, we have demonstrated that Jak kinase-dependent signals initiated from the membrane proximal domain of EpoR were sufficient to prevent IR-induced apoptotic cell death, but failed to prevent cell cycle arrest. Cell survival by Epo did not require activation of other known signaling pathways including PI-3 kinase, PLC-gamma, Ras or Stats. Signaling targets of Jak kinase pathways included members of the Bcl-2 family of anti-apoptotic proteins, and enforced expression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-xL was as effective as cytokine treatment in blocking IR-induced apoptosis but did not prevent growth arrest. A distinct signal derived from a membrane distal domain of EpoR is required to overcome growth arrest associated with DNA damage. These findings functionally link the Jak signaling pathway to suppression of p53-mediated cell death by cytokines and demonstrate that the apoptotic and growth arrest responses to DNA damage in hematopoietic cells are modulated by distinct, cytokine specific signal transduction pathways.

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