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Constitutive activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase in human acute leukemias: combined role of activation of MEK, hyperexpression of extracellular signal-regulated kinase, and downregulation of a phosphatase, PAC1

 Seong-Cheol Kim  ;  Jee-Sook Hahn  ;  Yoo-Hong Min  ;  Nae-Choon Yoo  ;  Yun-Woong Ko  ;  Won-Jae Lee 
 BLOOD, Vol.93(11) : 3893-3899, 1999 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases/metabolism* ; Down-Regulation ; Dual Specificity Phosphatase 2 ; Enzyme Activation ; Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic ; Humans ; Leukemia/enzymology* ; MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1* ; Protein Phosphatase 2 ; Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases/genetics ; Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases/metabolism* ; Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases/genetics ; Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases/metabolism* ; Tumor Cells, Cultured ; Up-Regulation
Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is an important intermediate in signal transduction pathways that are initiated by many types of cell surface receptors. It is thought to play a pivotal role in integrating and transmitting transmembrane signals required for growth and differentiation. Constitutive activation of ERK in fibroblasts elicits oncogenic transformation, and recently, constitutive activation of ERK has been observed in some human malignancies, including acute leukemia. However, mechanisms underlying constitutive activation of ERK have not been well characterized. In this study, we examined the activation of ERK in 79 human acute leukemia samples and attempted to find factors contributing to constitutive ERK activation. First, we showed that ERK and MEK were constitutively activated in acute leukemias by in vitro kinase assay and immunoblot analysis. However, in only one half of the studied samples, the pattern of ERK activation was similar to that of MEK activation. Next, by semiquantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunoblot analysis, we showed hyperexpression of ERK in a majority of acute leukemias. In 17 of 26 cases (65.4%) analyzed by immunoblot, the pattern of ERK expression was similar to that of ERK activation. The fact of constitutive activation of ERK in acute leukemias suggested to us the possibility of an abnormal downregulation mechanism of ERK. Therefore, we examined PAC1, a specific ERK phosphatase predominantly expressed in hematopoietic tissue and known to be upregulated at the transcription level in response to ERK activation. Interestingly, in our study, PAC1 gene expression in acute leukemias showing constitutive ERK activation was significantly lower than that in unstimulated, normal bone marrow (BM) samples showing minimal or no ERK activation (P =.002). Also, a significant correlation was observed between PAC1 downregulation and phosphorylation of ERK in acute leukemias (P =.002). Finally, by further analysis of 26 cases, we showed that a complementary role of MEK activation, ERK hyperexpression, and PAC1 downregulation could contribute to determining the constitutive activation of ERK in acute leukemia. Our results suggest that ERK is constitutively activated in a majority of acute leukemias, and in addition to the activation of MEK, the hyperexpression of ERK and downregulation of PAC1 also contribute to constitutive ERK activation in acute leukemias.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Internal Medicine (내과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Min, Yoo Hong(민유홍) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8542-9583
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