Phosphorylation of Par-4 by protein kinase A is critical for apoptosis

Sushma Gurumurthy, Anindya Goswami, Krishna Murthi Vasudevan, Vivek M. Rangnekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Despite distinct dissimilarities, diverse cancers express several common protumorigenic traits. We present here evidence that the proapoptotic protein Par-4 utilizes one such common tumorigenic trait to become selectively activated and induce apoptosis in cancer cells. Elevated protein kinase A (PKA) activity noted in cancer cells activated the apoptotic function of ectopic Par-4 or its SAC (selective for apoptosis induction in cancer cells) domain, which induces apoptosis selectively in cancer cells and not in normal or immortalized cells. PKA preferentially phosphorylated Par-4 at the T155 residue within the SAC domain in cancer cells. Moreover, pharmacological-, peptide-, or small interfering RNA-mediated inhibition of PKA activity in cancer cells resulted in abrogation of both T155 phosphorylation and apoptosis by Par-4. The mechanism of activation of endogenous Par-4 was similar to that of ectopic Par-4, and in response to exogenous stimuli, endogenous Par-4 induced apoptosis by a PKA- and phosphorylated T155-dependent mechanism. Enforced elevation of PKA activity in normal cells resulted in apoptosis by the SAC domain of Par-4 in a T155-dependent manner. Together, these observations suggest that selective apoptosis of cancer cells by the SAC domain of Par-4 involves phosphorylation of T155 by PKA. These findings uncover a novel mechanism engaging PKA, a procancerous activity commonly elevated in most tumor cells, to activate the cancer selective apoptotic action of Par-4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1146-1161
Number of pages16
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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