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Cordycepin promotes apoptosis by modulating the ERK-JNK signaling pathway via DUSP5 in renal cancer cells

ABSTRACT: Constitutive activation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK)-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling commonly occurs in tumors. The activation of ERK promotes cell proliferation, whereas that of JNK induces cell apoptosis. However, the apoptotic mechanism of ERK-JNK signaling in cancer is not well understood. Recently, we identified that apoptosis and activation of the JNK signaling pathway were induced after cordycepin treatment in hu-man renal cancer, suggesting that JNK signaling might contribute to TK-10 cell apoptosis. We investigated the apoptotic effects of cordycepin by evaluating the activation of the ERK-JNK signaling pathway in renal cancer TK-10 cells. We found that cordycepin downregulated ERK and DUSP5, upregulated phosphorylated-JNK (p-JNK), and induced apoptosis. Moreover, we showed that siRNA-mediated inhibition of ERK downregulated DUSP5, whereas ERK over-expression upregulated DUSP5, and that DUSP5 knockdown by siRNA upregulated p-JNK. The JNK-specific inhibitor SP600125 upregulated nuclear translocation of β-catenin, and downregulated Dickkopf-1 (Dkk1), which has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of Wnt signaling. Dkk1 knockdown by siRNA upregulated nuclear β-catenin, suggest-ing the involvement of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. DUSP5 overexpression in TK-10 cells decreased p-JNK and increased nuclear β-catenin. The decreased Bax activation markedly protected against cordycepin-induced apoptosis. Bax subfamily proteins induced apoptosis through caspase-3. Taken together, we show that JNK signaling activation by cordycepin mediated ERK inhibition, which might have induced Bax translocation and caspase-3 activation via regulation of DUSP5 in TK-10 cells, thereby promoting the apoptosis of TK-10 cells. Targeting ERK-JNK signaling via the apoptotic effects of cordycepin could be a potential therapeutic strategy to treat renal cancer.

Hwang, J. -H., Joo, J. C., Kim, D. J., Jo, E., Yoo, H. -S., Lee, K. -B., Jang, I. -S. (2016). Cordycepin promotes apoptosis by modulating the ERK-JNK signaling pathway via DUSP5 in renal cancer cells. American Journal of Cancer Research, 6(8), 1758. Retrieved from Google Scholar.