Lack of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor leads to impaired activation of AKT/protein kinase B and enhanced sensitivity to apoptosis induced via the intrinsic pathway

Ran Wu, Li Zhang, Martin S. Hoagland, Hollie I. Swanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand activated transcription factor that is best known for its role in mediating the toxicity of many environmental contaminants such as 2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin. However, the endogenous role of AHR, especially with respect to the apoptotic process, is largely unknown and contradictory. In this report, we have used a mouse hepatoma cell line (Hepa1c1c7) and its AHR-deficient derivative (LA1) to examine the effect of differing AHR levels on apoptosis susceptibility, in particular, apopto1sis regulated by the intrinsic pathway. Toward this end, the cells were subjected to UV irradiation, hydrogen peroxide, and serum starvation. Analyses of a number of different endpoints of apoptosis revealed that the LA1 cells were more sensitive to these stresses than the wild-type cells, indicating that the AHR plays a cytoprotective role in the face of stimuli that initiate the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. A direct role of the AHR in mediating this effect was confirmed using both pharmacological and molecular approaches. Further analyses imply that lack of the AHR leads to an impaired survival response mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3′-OH kinase-Akt/protein kinase B and, to a lesser degree, epidermal growth factor receptor activation. These findings indicate that exploring the use of the AHR antagonist as agents that enhance the proapoptotic actions of cancer therapies may be a valid approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-457
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Volume320
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

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