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Apoptosis. 2011 Dec;16(12):1285-94. doi: 10.1007/s10495-011-0648-3.

The pro-apoptotic protein Prostate Apoptosis Response Protein-4 (Par-4) can be activated in colon cancer cells by treatment with Src inhibitor and 5-FU.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Hershey, USA.


The overexpression of the pro-apoptotic protein Prostate Apoptosis Response Protein-4 in colon cancer has been shown to increase response to the chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Although colon cancer cells endogenously express Par-4, the presence or overexpression of Par-4 alone does not cause apoptosis. We hypothesize that Par-4 is inactivated in colon cancer. In colon cancer, the levels and the kinase activity of the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase c-Src increase with tumor progression. One of the downstream effectors of c-Src is Akt1. Akt1 has been shown to inhibit the pro-apoptotic activity of Par-4 in prostate cancer cells. We therefore investigated the potential of activating Par-4 by inhibiting c-Src. Colon carcinoma cell lines were treated with the Src kinase inhibitor 4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(dimethylethyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine (PP2) in combination with the chemotherapeutic agent 5-FU. Treating cells with PP2 and 5-FU resulted in reduced interaction of Par-4 with Akt1 and with the scaffolding protein 14-3-3σ, and mobilization of Par-4 to the nucleus. Par-4 was shown to interact not only with Akt1 and 14-3-3σ, but also with c-Src. Overexpression of c-Src induced the phosphorylation of Par-4 at tyrosine site/s. Thus, in this study, we have shown that Par-4 can be activated by inhibiting Src with a pharmacological inhibitor and adding a chemotherapeutic agent. The activation of the pro-apoptotic protein Par-4 as reported in this study is a novel mechanism by which apoptosis occurs with a Src kinase inhibitor and 5-FU. In addition, we have demonstrated that the pro-apoptotic activity of endogenously expressed Par-4 can be increased in colon cancer cells.

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