RCAN1 Is an Important Mediator of Glucocorticoid-Induced Apoptosis in Human Leukemic Cells

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<p>Glucocorticoid (GC) is a major therapeutic agent for the treatment of leukemia because of its ability to induce apoptosis in lymphoid cells. The mechanism causing apoptosis, however, is still controversial. Since the glucocorticoid receptor is a transcription factor, some of its target genes are expected to be implicated in apoptosis. In this study, using a GC-sensitive human pre-B leukemia cell line, Nalm-6, the <italic>FK506 binding protein 51</italic> (<italic>FKBP5</italic>) and <italic>regulator of calcineurin 1</italic> (<italic>RCAN1</italic>) genes were disrupted by homologous recombination, since the expression of both is up-regulated by GC in GC-sensitive but not in GC-resistant leukemic cell lines. While the disruption of <italic>FKBP5</italic> had a marginal effect on GC-induced apoptosis, that of <italic>RCAN1</italic> resulted in marked resistance to GC. In addition, overexpression of <italic>RCAN1</italic> rendered cells more sensitive to DEX. In <italic>RCAN1</italic>-disrupted cells, levels of some pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins were decreased and increased, respectively. Finally, phosphorylation of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) and up-regulation of CREB target genes by GC were inhibited by <italic>RCAN1</italic> disruption, and treatment with a cAMP-inducing agent, forskolin, restored the sensitivity to GC in <italic>RCAN1</italic>-disrupted Nalm-6 cells. These findings suggest that up-regulation of <italic>RCAN1</italic> expression followed by activation of the CREB pathway is required in GC-induced apoptosis.</p>




Nagao, K., Iwai, Y., & Miyashita, T. (2012). RCAN1 Is an Important Mediator of Glucocorticoid-Induced Apoptosis in Human Leukemic Cells. PLoS ONE, 7(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0049926

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