GSK621 Targets Glioma Cells via Activating AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Signalings

Here, we studied the anti-glioma cell activity by a novel AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activator GSK621. We showed that GSK621 was cytotoxic to human glioma cells (U87MG and U251MG lines), possibly via provoking caspase-dependent apoptotic cell death. Its cytotoxicity was alleviated by caspase inhibitors. GSK621 activated AMPK to inhibit mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and downregulate Tetraspanin 8 (Tspan8) in glioma cells. AMPK inhibition, through shRNA knockdown of AMPKα or introduction of a dominant negative (T172A) AMPKα, almost reversed GSK621-induced AMPK activation, mTOR inhibition and Tspan8 degradation. Consequently, GSK621's cytotoxicity in glioma cells was also significantly attenuated by AMPKα knockdown or mutation. Further studies showed that GSK621, at a relatively low concentration, significantly potentiated temozolomide (TMZ)'s sensitivity and lethality against glioma cells. We summarized that GSK621 inhibits human glioma cells possibly via activating AMPK signaling. This novel AMPK activator could be a novel and promising anti-glioma cell agent.

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