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Mol Cancer Res. 2012 May;10(5):660-9. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-11-0363. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

The Proto-oncogene PKCι regulates the alternative splicing of Bcl-x pre-mRNA.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University-School of Medicine, Room 2-016, Sanger Hall, 1101 East Marshall Street, P.O. Box 980614, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Two splice variants derived from the Bcl-x gene via alternative 5' splice site selection (5'SS) are proapoptotic Bcl-x(s) and antiapoptotic Bcl-x(L). Previously, our laboratory showed that apoptotic signaling pathways regulated the alternative 5'SS selection via protein phosphatase-1 and de novo ceramide. In this study, we examined the elusive prosurvival signaling pathways that regulate the 5'SS selection of Bcl-x pre-mRNA in cancer cells. Taking a broad-based approach by using a number of small-molecule inhibitors of various mitogenic/survival pathways, we found that only treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines with the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 (50 μmol/L) or the pan-protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor Gö6983 (25 μmol/L) decreased the Bcl-x(L)/(s) mRNA ratio. Pan-PKC inhibitors that did not target the atypical PKCs, PKCι and PKCζ, had no effect on the Bcl-x(L)/(s) mRNA ratio. Additional studies showed that downregulation of the proto-oncogene, PKCι, in contrast to PKCζ, also resulted in a decrease in the Bcl-x(L)/(s) mRNA ratio. Furthermore, downregulation of PKCι correlated with a dramatic decrease in the expression of SAP155, an RNA trans-acting factor that regulates the 5'SS selection of Bcl-x pre-mRNA. Inhibition of the PI3K or atypical PKC pathway induced a dramatic loss of SAP155 complex formation at ceramide-responsive RNA cis-element 1. Finally, forced expression of Bcl-x(L) "rescued" the loss of cell survival induced by PKCι siRNA. In summary, the PI3K/PKCι regulates the alternative splicing of Bcl-x pre-mRNA with implications in the cell survival of NSCLC cells.

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