AKT is indispensable for coordinating Par-4/JNK cross talk in p21 downmodulation during ER stress

The double-edged role of p21 to command survival and apoptosis is emerging. The current investigation highlights ER stress-mediated JNK activation that plausibly triggers cell death by attenuating endogenous p21 level. Here, we demonstrated that ER stress activator 3-AWA diminishes the p21 levels in cancer cells by averting the senescent phenotype to commence G2/M arrest. In essence, the deceleration in p21 level occurs through ER stress/JNK/Caspase-3 axis via activation/induction of proapoptotic Par-4 and inhibition of AKT. The molecular dynamics studies identified important interactions, which may be responsible for the AKT inhibition and efficacy of 3-AWA towards AKT binding pocket. Interestingly, the p21 deceleration was rescued by incubating the cells with 3-AWA in the presence of an ER stress inhibitor, Salubrinal. Furthermore, we demonstrated that p21 expression decreases solitarily in Par-4+/+ MEFs; albeit, ER stress-induced JNK activation was observed in both Par-4+/+ and Par-4-/- MEFs. Par-4 knockdown or overexpression studies established that ectopic Par-4 along with ER stress are not sufficient to downregulate p21 in PC-3 cells but are adequate for DU-145 cells and that the ER stress inflicted activation of JNK, inhibition of AKT and Par-4 induction are all crucial to p21 downmodulation by 3-AWA. By using isogenic cell lines, such as HCT-116 p53+/+ and HCT-116 p53-/-, we found that deceleration in p21 expression due to ER stress is p53 independent. Moreover, in orthotopic carcinogen-induced rat colorectal carcinoma model, we found that 3-AWA inhibits colorectal tumor growth and formation of colorectal polyps at a tolerable dose, similar to the first-line drug for colorectal cancer-5-fluorouracil.

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S2923 Salubrinal Salubrinal is a selective inhibitor of eIF2α dephosphorylation and inhibits ER stress-mediated apoptosis with EC50 of ~15 μM in a cell-free assay.

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