The Enhancement of Radiation Sensitivity in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cells via Activation of the Rac1/NADPH Signaling Pathway

We reported in an earlier study that using mass spectrometry and bioinformatic analysis demonstrated Rac1 protein might be mostly mitochondrial target in the radiosensitization process of nasopharyngeal carcinoma CNE-1 cells. The goal of our current study was to reveal the relationship between Rac1/NADPH pathway and radiosensitization in CNE-1 cells using Rac1 activator, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and Rac1 inhibitor NSC23766. The Rac1-GTP expression was determined using a pulldown assay, the Rac1 location using a immunofluorescence with a laser scanning confocal microscope, the NADPH oxidase activity with NBT assay and the reactive oxygen species with DCFH-DA probe. The apoptosis rate was analyzed by flow cytometry, and the expressions of p67(phox) and NFκB-p105/p50 were analyzed by Western blot. After treatment with PMA and 2 Gy radiation (compared to the control), Rac1-GTP was activated and translocated to the cell membrane. NADPH oxidase activity, reactive oxygen species of intracellular concentration and the apoptosis rate increased significantly. The expression of p67(phox) and NFκB-p50 protein also increased. However, in the cells treated with NSC23766 alone or NSC23766 combined with 2 Gy irradiation, the results were just the opposite. Overall, these results indicate that the Rac1 protein may be the key target involved in the radiosensitization of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. The activated Rac1/NADPH pathway combined with radiation can increase the radiosensitivity of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells, and the Rac1/NADPH pathway may be the signaling pathway involved in the radiosensitization process.