PI-3K/Akt pathway-dependent cyclin D1 expression is responsible for arsenite-induced human keratinocyte transformation

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Background: Long-term exposure of arsenite leads to human skin cancer. However, the exact mechanisms of arsenite-induced human skin carcinogenesis remain to be defined. Objectives: In this study, we investigated the potential role of PI-3K/Akt/cyclin D1in the transformation of human keratinocytic cells upon arsenite exposure. Methods: We used the soft agar assay to evaluate the cell transformation activity of arsenite exposure and the nude mice xenograft model to determine the tumorigenesis of arsenite-induced transformed cells. We used the dominant negative mutant and gene knockdown approaches to elucidate the signaling pathway involved in this process. Results: Our results showed that repeated long-term exposure of HaCat cells to arsenite caused cell transformation, as indicated by anchorage-independent growth in soft agar. The tumorigenicity of these transformed cells was confirmed in nude mice. Treatment of cells with arsenite also induced significant activation of PI-3K and Akt, which was responsible for the anchorage-independent cell growth induced by arsenite exposure. Furthermore, our data also indicated that cyclin D1 is an important downstream molecule involved in PI-3K/Akt-mediated cell transformation upon arsenite exposure based on the facts that inhibition of cyclin D1 expression by dominant negative mutants of PI-3K, and Akt, or the knockdown of the cyclin D1 expression by its specific siRNA in the HaCat cells resulted in impairing of anchorage-independent growth of HaCat cells induced by arsenite. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that PI-3K/Akt-mediated cyclin D1 expression is at least one key event implicated in the arsenite human skin carcinogenic effect.




Ouyang, W., Luo, W., Zhang, D., Jian, J., Ma, Q., Li, J., … Huang, C. (2008). PI-3K/Akt pathway-dependent cyclin D1 expression is responsible for arsenite-induced human keratinocyte transformation. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(1), 1–6. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.10403

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