Dysregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1/MDA6 increases the susceptibility of human leukemia cells (U937) to 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis
The effects of dysregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1 on the apoptotic response of U937 monocytic leukemia cells to 1-beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) were examined. After a 6-h exposure to 1 microM ara-C, cells stably transfected with a p21WAF1/CIP1 antisense construct were significantly more sensitive to the induction of classic apoptotic morphology, DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activation, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase degradation, and underphosphorylation
... the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) than their empty-vector counterparts. Enhanced susceptibility of antisense-expressing cells to ara-C was accompanied by a corresponding reduction in clonogenic and suspension culture growth. The increased sensitivity of these cells to ara-C-mediated lethality could not be attributed to cytokinetic perturbations, nor did ara-CTP formation or (ara-C)DNA incorporation differ significantly between the cell lines. Moreover, synchronization of p21 antisense-expressing cells in S-phase by aphidicolin block resulted in a further increase in ara-C-mediated apoptosis, suggesting enhanced drug sensitivity of the S-phase cell fraction. After exposure to ara-C, p21 antisense-expressing cells displayed a greater decline in mitochondrial membrane potential (deltapsi(m)) and generation of reactive oxygen species than their empty-vector counterparts, as well as early potentiation (e.g., within 2-4 h) of cytochrome c release into the cytosolic S-100 fraction. Lastly, ara-C-mediated increases in mitogen-activated protein kinase activity over basal levels were attenuated in p21 antisense-expressing cells. Collectively, these findings indicate that dysregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1 increases the susceptibility of U937 human leukemia cells to ara-C-related lethality, and this phenomenon occurs as a relatively early event that is independent of cell cycle or pharmacodynamic factors and is associated with mitochondrial perturbations implicated in activation of the apoptotic protease cascade.