Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:274 issue:13 pages:8788-8796
In this study, we elucidate signaling pathways induced by photodynamic therapy (PDT) with hypericin. We show that PDT rapidly activates JNK1 while irreversibly inhibiting ERK2 in several cancer cell lines. In HeLa cells, sustained PDT-induced JNK1 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activations overlap the activation of a DEVD-directed caspase activity, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage, and the onset of apoptosis, The caspase inhibitors benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethylketone (zVAD-fmk) and benzyloxycarbonyl-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-fluoromethylketone (zDEVD-fmk) protect cells against apoptosis and inhibit DEVD-specific caspase activity and PARP cleavage without affecting JNK1 and p38 MAPK activations, Conversely, stable overexpression of CrmA, the serpin-like inhibitor of caspase-1 and caspase-8, has no effect on PDT-induced PARP cleavage, apoptosis, or JNK1/p38 activations. Cell transfection with the dominant negative inhibitors of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway, SEK-AL and TAM-67, or pretreatment with the p38 MAPK inhibitor PD169316 enhances PDT-induced apoptosis, A similar increase in PDT-induced apoptosis was observed by expression of the dual specificity phosphatase MKP-1, The simultaneous inhibition of both stress kinases by pretreating cells with PD169316 after transfection with either TAM-67 or SEK-AL produces a more pronounced sensitizing effect. Cell pretreatment with the p38 inhibitor PD169316 causes faster kinetics of DEVD-caspase activation and PARP cleavage and strongly oversensitizes the cells to apoptosis following PDT, These observations indicate that the JNK1 and p38 MAPK pathways play an important role in cellular resistance against PDT-induced apoptosis with hypericin.