Research Papers:

Regulation of the viability of Nf1 deficient cells by PKC isoforms

Xiaodong Zhou _, Ling Shen, Toshima Parris, Junchi Huang, Bo Yi, Khalil Helou and Changyan Chen

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:10709-10717. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2531

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Xiaodong Zhou1,2,*, Ling Shen1,*, Toshima Parris3, Junchi Huang1, Bo Yi1,4, Khalil Helou3 and Changyan Chen1,3

1 Center for Drug Discovery, Northeastern University, Boston, USA

2 The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, China

3 The Institute of Clinical Sciences, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, SE

4 The Jiangxi Province Tumor Hospital, Nanchang, China

* These authors contributed equally to this work


Changyan Chen, email:

Keywords: PKC isoforms, NF1, ras, caspase 3, apoptosis

Received: July 24, 2014 Accepted: September 25, 2014 Published: September 26, 2014


Suppression of protein kinase C (PKC) is known to be synthetically lethal with ras mutations in various types of cancer cells. The studies also showed that blockade of PKC affected the viability of Nf1 deficient cells. Since PKC family consists of more than 10 isoforms, our study aimed at identifying which isoform(s) played the crucial role in sensitizing Nf1 deficient cells to apoptosis. Using genetic and chemical PKC inhibitors, we demonstrated that the concurrent inhibition of PKC α and β induced Nf1 deficient ST or 96.2 cells, but not SNF02.2 cells with a normal Nf1 or ST cells ectopically expressing Nf1 effective domain gene, to apoptosis. In this process, PKC δ in Nf1 deficient cells, but not in ST/Nf1 cells, was upregulated and translocated to the nucleus. Furthermore, caspase 3 was cleaved and cytochrome c was released to the cytosol. Thus, it appeared that PKC δ and α/β are the crucial components for sustaining the aberrant Ras signaling and further viability of Nf1 deficient cells. The abrogation of these two isoforms activated their opponent PKC δ for switching on the caspase 3-governed apoptotic machinery.

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