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Galpha12 stimulates apoptosis in epithelial cells through JNK1-mediated Bcl-2 degradation and up-regulation of IkappaBalpha.

Yanamadala V., Negoro H., Gunaratnam L., Kong T., Denker B.M.

Apoptosis is an essential mechanism for the maintenance of somatic tissues, and when dysregulated can lead to numerous pathological conditions. G proteins regulate apoptosis in addition to other cellular functions, but the roles of specific G proteins in apoptosis signaling are not well characterized. Galpha12 stimulates protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a serine/threonine phosphatase that modulates essential signaling pathways, including apoptosis. Herein, we examined whether Galpha12 regulates apoptosis in epithelial cells. Inducible expression of Galpha12 or constitutively active (QL)alpha12 in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells led to increased apoptosis with expression of QLalpha12, but not Galpha12. Inducing QLalpha12 led to degradation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 (via the proteasome pathway), increased JNK activity, and up-regulated IkappaBalpha protein levels, a potent stimulator of apoptosis. Furthermore, the QLalpha12-stimulated activation of JNK was blocked by inhibiting PP2A. To characterize endogenous Galpha12 signaling pathways, non-transfected MDCK-II and HEK293 cells were stimulated with thrombin. Thrombin activated endogenous Galpha12 (confirmed by GST-tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) pull-downs) and stimulated apoptosis in both cell types. The mechanisms of thrombin-stimulated apoptosis through endogenous Galpha12 were nearly identical to the mechanisms identified in QLalpha12-MDCK cells and included loss of Bcl-2, JNK activation, and up-regulation of IkappaBalpha. Knockdown of the PP2A catalytic subunit in HEK293 cells inhibited thrombin-stimulated apoptosis, prevented JNK activation, and blocked Bcl-2 degradation. In summary, Galpha12 has a major role in regulating epithelial cell apoptosis through PP2A and JNK activation leading to loss of Bcl-2 protein expression. Targeting these pathways in vivo may lead to new therapeutic strategies for a variety of disease processes.

J. Biol. Chem. 282:24352-24363(2007) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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