Reactive oxygen species-dependent destruction of MEK and Akt in Manumycin stimulated death of lymphoid tumor and myeloma cell lines

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Manumycin-A (Man-A) is a farnesyltransferase inhibitor (FTI), which was originally identified as an effective tumoricide against several cancers, especially ones harboring constitutively active Ras. However, it is becoming apparent that Man-A can stimulate tumor death independently of FTases. Antioxidant treatment blocked Man-A-stimulated DNA damage and reversed Man-A-inhibited tumor growth. However, the precise molecular details of how these reactive oxygen species (ROS) influence cell signaling modules are poorly understood. We examined how ROS may modulate death and survival pathways in a panel of tumor cells. Man-A treatment resulted in a massive induction of superoxide anion (·O2) only in Man-A-sensitive tumors. Within 1 hr, Man-A caused the ROS-dependent activation of caspases 9 and 3. In this time-frame, the Ras-Raf target, MEK, and the survival protein Akt were dephosphorylated in ROS-dependent fashions and then cleaved in ROS and caspase-dependent manners. Pretreatment with ROS scavengers blocked the adverse effects of Man-A, including the processing of caspases and the cleavage of MEK and Akt. These events were noted before any losses in Ras activity or changes in its maturation could be detected. Finally, transfection with cDNAs encoding the antioxidant enzymes catalase, superoxide dismutase and thioredoxin reductase inhibited superoxide induction and apoptosis. Together, our data suggest that the elimination of tumors by Man-A can be independent of the inhibiting of Ras. However, one universal feature observed is the generation of death-triggering intracellular oxidants that appear to directly participate in the select targeting of growth and survival proteins that then either augment or ensure tumor cell death.

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