Role of nongenomic activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 pathways in 1,25D3-mediated apoptosis in squamous cell carcinoma cells
Ma, Y.; Yu, W.-D.; Kong, R.-X.; Trump, D.L.; Johnson, C.S.
Cancer Research 66(16): 8131-8138
Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that regulates calcium homeostasis and bone metabolism. The active form of vitamin D [1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25D3)] acts through both genomic and nongenomic pathways. 1,25D3 has antitumor effects in a variety of cancers, including colorectal, prostate, breast, ovarian, and skin cancers. 1,25D3 exerts growth-inhibitory effects in cancer cells through the induction of apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, and differentiation. The mechanisms regulating 1,25D3-induced apoptosis remain unclear. We investigated the role of nongenomic signaling in 1,25D3-mediated apoptosis in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) cells. 1,25D3 induced rapid and sustained activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 pathways in SCC cells. These effects were nongenomic: they occurred rapidly and were not inhibited by cycloheximide or actinomycin D. To examine whether the nongenomic activation of Akt and ERK1/2 plays a role in 1,25D3-mediated apoptosis, the expression of Akt or ERK1/2 was reduced by small interfering RNA (siRNA). siRNA-Akt significantly enhanced 1,25D3-induced apoptosis as indicated by increased levels of Annexin V-positive cells and increased sub-G(1) population and DNA fragmentation. In contrast, siRNA-ERK1/2 had no effects on 1,25D3-induced apoptosis. In addition, siRNA-Akt transfection followed by 1,25D3 treatment induced apoptosis much sooner than 1,25D3 alone. siRNA-Akt and 1,25D3 induced caspase-10 activation, suppressed the expression of c-IAP1 and XIAP, and promoted 1,25D3-induced caspase-3 activation. These results support a link between 1,25D3-induced nongenomic signaling and apoptosis. 1,25D3 induces the activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt, which suppresses 1,25D3-mediated apoptosis and prolongs the survival of SCC cells.