[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET is being evaluated as a tool for the early detection of response to various targeted agents in solid tumors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictive value of PET response after 2 days of erlotinib in unselected pretrated patients with stage IV NSCLC.
FDG-PET/CT scans were conducted at baseline and after 2 days of erlotinib, with a CT evaluation performed at baseline and after 45-60 days of therapy. PET responses were evaluated by quantitative changes on SUVmax tumor/non-tumor ratio and classified according to EORTC criteria. PET responses were compared with RECIST responses and related to progression-free (PFS) and overall (OS) survival. Erlotinib effects on glucose uptake were also studied in a panel of NSCLC cell lines.
Fifty-three patients were enrolled. At 2 days of erlotinib, 20 (38 %) patients showed partial metabolic response (PMR), 25 (47 %) had stable metabolic disease (SMD) and 8 (15 %) had progressive metabolic disease (PMD). All patients with PMD had confirmed RECIST progression at 45-60 days. Patients with early PMR and SMD had significantly longer PFS (p < 0.001 and p = 0.001, respectively) and OS (p = 0.001 for both) than PMD patients.
FDG-PET assessment after 2 days of erlotinib could be useful to identify early resistent patients and to predict survival in unselected NSCLC pretreated population.
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 11/2013; · 2.80 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we investigated the effects and the underlying molecular mechanisms of the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib in a panel of breast cancer cell lines. Sorafenib inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. These effects were neither correlated with modulation of MAPK and AKT pathways nor dependent on the ERα status. Sorafenib promoted an early perturbation of mitochondrial function, inducing a deep depolarization of mitochondrial membrane, associated with drop of intracellular ATP levels and increase of ROS generation. As a response to this stress condition, the energy sensor AMPK was rapidly activated in all the cell lines analyzed. In MCF-7 and SKBR3 cells, AMPK enhanced glucose uptake by up-regulating the expression of GLUT-1 glucose transporter, as also demonstrated by AMPKα1 RNA interference, and stimulated aerobic glycolysis thus increasing lactate production. Moreover, the GLUT-1 inhibitor fasentin blocked sorafenib-induced glucose uptake and potentiated its cytotoxic activity in SKBR3 cells. Persistent activation of AMPK by sorafenib finally led to the impairment of glucose metabolism both in MCF-7 and SKBR3 cells as well as in the highly glycolytic MDA-MB-231 cells, resulting in cell death. This previously unrecognized long-term effect of sorafenib was mediated by AMPK-dependent inhibition of the mTORC1 pathway. Suppression of mTORC1 activity was sufficient for sorafenib to hinder glucose utilization in breast cancer cells, as demonstrated by the observation that the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin induced a comparable down-regulation of GLUT-1 expression and glucose uptake. The key role of AMPK-dependent inhibition of mTORC1 in sorafenib mechanisms of action was confirmed by AMPKα1 silencing, which restored mTORC1 activity conferring a significant protection from cell death. This study provides insights into the molecular mechanisms driving sorafenib anti-tumoral activity in breast cancer, and supports the need for going on with clinical trials aimed at proving the efficacy of sorafenib for breast cancer treatment.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 08/2013; · 4.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite the initial response, all patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) eventually develop acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). The EGFR-T790M secondary mutation is responsible for half of acquired resistance cases, while MET amplification has been associated with acquired resistance in about 5-15% of NSCLCs. Clinical findings indicate the retained addiction of resistant tumors on EGFR signaling. Therefore, we evaluated the molecular mechanisms supporting the therapeutic potential of gefitinib maintenance in the HCC827 GR5 NSCLC cell line harbouring MET amplification as acquired resistance mechanism. We demonstrated that resistant cells can proliferate and survive regardless of the presence of gefitinib, whereas the absence of the drug significantly enhanced cell migration and invasion. Moreover, the continuous exposure to gefitinib prevented the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) with increased E-cadherin expression and down-regulation of vimentin and N-cadherin. Importantly, the inhibition of cellular migration was correlated with the suppression of EGFR-dependent Src, STAT5 and p38 signaling as assessed by a specific kinase array, western blot analysis and silencing functional studies. On the contrary, the lack of effect of gefitinib on EGFR phosphorylation in the H1975 cells (EGFR-T790M) correlated with the absence of effects on cell migration and invasion. In conclusion, our findings suggest that certain EGFR-mutated patients may still benefit from a second-line therapy including gefitinib based on the specific mechanism underlying tumor cell resistance.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e78656. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is an established target for anti-cancer treatment in different tumour types. Two different strategies have been explored to inhibit this pivotal molecule in epithelial cancer development: small molecules TKIs and monoclonal antibodies. ErbB/HER-targeting by monoclonal antibodies such as cetuximab and trastuzumab or tyrosine-kinase inhibitors as gefitinib or erlotinib has been proven effective in the treatment of advanced NSCLC. RESULTS: In this study we explored the potential of combining either erlotinib with cetuximab or trastuzumab to improve the efficacy of EGFR targeted therapy in EGFR wild-type NSCLC cell lines. Erlotinib treatment was observed to increase EGFR and/or HER2 expression at the plasma membrane level only in NSCLC cell lines sensitive to the drug inducing protein stabilization. The combined treatment had marginal effect on cell proliferation but markedly increased antibody-dependent, NK mediated, cytotoxicity in vitro. Moreover, in the Calu-3 xenograft model, the combination significantly inhibited tumour growth when compared with erlotinib and cetuximab alone. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that erlotinib increases surface expression of EGFR and/or HER2 only in EGFR-TKI sensitive NSCLC cell lines and, in turns, leads to increased susceptibility to ADCC both in vitro and in a xenograft models. The combination of erlotinib with monoclonal antibodies represents a potential strategy to improve the treatment of wild-type EGFR NSCLC patients sensitive to erlotinib.
Molecular Cancer 12/2012; 11(1):91. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conventional chemotherapeutic regimens have reached an efficacy plateau against most solid tumors and deal with significant toxicity. Recently, the goal of the oncologic research to improve outcome and reduce treatment-related side-effects has led to the development of novel anticancer treatments targeting specific proteins or genes involved in cancer growth and progression. In particular, the tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (TKIs) gefitinib and erlotinib targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) have been approved for the treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Their clinical activity has been related to different clinical and biological parameters, such as the presence of activating mutations in the kinase domain of the target. Disappointingly, their clinical efficacy is limited by the development of resistance which is caused in more than 50% of the cases by the emergence of a secondary point-mutation (T790M) in the ATP-binding cleft of EGFR. Several novel EGFR inhibitors, able to covalently bind the target and prolong its inactivation, have been developed with the aim to overcome such resistance and are evaluated in ongoing clinical studies. However, not all clinical outcomes, including tolerability, are explained, and the identification/validation of novel biomarkers of sensitivity or resistance to such agents is a viable area of research to improve their clinical use. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the functional role of activating mutations of EGFR, pivotal primary/acquired resistance mechanisms as well as clinical data of small molecule EGFR-TKIs, and discusses the future of such therapeutic approach in NSCLC.
Current pharmaceutical design 09/2012; · 4.41 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Development of resistance to endocrine therapy is a clinical issue in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer. Here we show that persistent activation of AKT/mTOR signaling is crucial to the acquisition of letrozole resistance in cell clones generated from MCF-7/AROM-1 aromatase-expressing breast cancer cells after prolonged letrozole exposure. ERα plays a marginal role in this context. As a proof of concept, the association between PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling and insensitivity to endocrine therapies was confirmed in breast cancer patients who developed early letrozole resistance in neoadjuvant setting. In addition our results suggest that, regardless of the mechanism mediating the activation of AKT/mTOR pathway, either RAD001 or NVP-BEZ235 treatment may represent a promising strategy to overcome acquired resistance to letrozole in breast cancers dependent on AKT/mTOR signaling.
Cancer letters 04/2012; 323(1):77-87. · 4.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gefitinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) especially effective in tumors with activating EGFR gene mutations while EGFR wild-type non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients at present do not benefit from this treatment.The primary site of gefitinib metabolism is the liver, nevertheless tumor cell metabolism can significantly affect treatment effectiveness.
In this study, we investigated the intracellular metabolism of gefitinib in a panel of EGFR wild-type gefitinib-sensitive and -resistant NSCLC cell lines, assessing the role of cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) inhibition on gefitinib efficacy. Our results indicate that there is a significant difference in drug metabolism between gefitinib-sensitive and -resistant cell lines. Unexpectedly, only sensitive cells metabolized gefitinib, producing metabolites which were detected both inside and outside the cells. As a consequence of gefitinib metabolism, the intracellular level of gefitinib was markedly reduced after 12-24 h of treatment. Consistent with this observation, RT-PCR analysis and EROD assay showed that mRNA and activity of CYP1A1 were present at significant levels and were induced by gefitinib only in sensitive cells. Gefitinib metabolism was elevated in crowded cells, stimulated by exposure to cigarette smoke extract and prevented by hypoxic condition. It is worth noting that the metabolism of gefitinib in the sensitive cells is a consequence and not the cause of drug responsiveness, indeed treatment with a CYP1A1 inhibitor increased the efficacy of the drug because it prevented the fall in intracellular gefitinib level and significantly enhanced the inhibition of EGFR autophosphorylation, MAPK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signalling pathways and cell proliferation.
Our findings suggest that gefitinib metabolism in lung cancer cells, elicited by CYP1A1 activity, might represent an early assessment of gefitinib responsiveness in NSCLC cells lacking activating mutations. On the other hand, in metabolizing cells, the inhibition of CYP1A1 might lead to increased local exposure to the active drug and thus increase gefitinib potency.
Molecular Cancer 11/2011; 10:143. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Estrogens induce breast tumor cell proliferation by directly regulating gene expression via the estrogen receptor (ER) transcriptional activity and by affecting growth factor signaling pathways such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin Complex1 (mTORC1) cascades. In this study we demonstrated the preclinical therapeutic efficacy of combining the aromatase inhibitor letrozole with the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib in aromatase-expressing breast cancer cell lines. Treatment with letrozole reduced testosterone-driven cell proliferation, by inhibiting the synthesis of estrogens. Sorafenib inhibited cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner; this effect was not dependent on sorafenib-mediated inhibition of Raf1, but involved the down-regulation of mTORC1 and its targets p70S6K and 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1). At concentrations of 5-10 μM the growth-inhibitory effect of sorafenib was associated with the induction of apoptosis, as indicated by release of cytochrome c and Apoptosis-Inducing Factor into the cytosol, activation of caspase-9 and caspase-7, and PARP-1 cleavage. Combination of letrozole and sorafenib produced a synergistic inhibition of cell proliferation associated with an enhanced accumulation of cells in the G(0)/G(1) phase of the cell cycle and with a down-regulation of the cell cycle regulatory proteins c-myc, cyclin D1, and phospho-Rb. In addition, longer experiments (12 weeks) demonstrated that sorafenib may be effective in preventing the acquisition of resistance towards letrozole. Together, these results indicate that combination of letrozole and sorafenib might constitute a promising approach to the treatment of hormone-dependent breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 11/2010; 124(1):79-88. · 4.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gefitinib, an inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase, has been developed and approved for treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In this study, we investigated the uptake of gefitinib in gefitinib-sensitive and -resistant NSCLC cell lines. The transport system was temperature-dependent, indicative of an active process and sodium- and potential-independent. Moreover, high cell densities and low extracellular pH significantly reduced the uptake of gefitinib. Inhibitors of the human organic cation transporter 1 (hOCT1) significantly decreased gefitinib uptake; however, gefitinib was not a substrate for hOCT1 or hOCT2 in overexpressing HEK293 cells. Interestingly, gefitinib significantly reduced uptake of the hOCT prototypical substrate MPP suggesting that gefitinib may exert an inhibitory effect on the intracellular accumulation of drugs transported by hOCT1 and hOCT2. After 15min of treatment at 1microM (the maximum plasma concentration of gefitinib obtained at the clinically relevant dose) gefitinib accumulated within the cell in resistant-cell lines at concentrations similar or even higher than in gefitinib-sensitive cells tending to rule out an alteration in drug uptake as a mechanism of resistance to gefitinib treatment. Moreover, our results suggest that the extrusion of lactate by crowded cells may contribute in decreasing the pH, which in turn can influence the uptake of gefinitib and as a result the inhibition of EGFR autophosphorylation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a TNF superfamily member that is being considered as a new strategy in anticancer therapy because of its ability to induce apoptosis, alone or in combination with other stimuli, in many cancer cells. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is an evolutionarily conserved key regulator of cellular energy homeostasis that protects the cell from energy depletion and stress by activating several biochemical pathways that lead to the conservation, as well as generation, of ATP. Here we report that a number of AMPK activators, including the small molecule activator A-769662, markedly sensitize TRAIL-resistant breast cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. However, silencing AMPKalpha1 expression with siRNA or over-expression of DN-AMPKalpha1 does not inhibit AICAR, glucose deprivation, phenformin or A-769662-induced sensitization to TRAIL. Furthermore, the expression of constitutively active AMPK subunits does not sensitize resistant breast cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. The cellular FLICE-inhibitory proteins (cFLIP(L) and cFLIP(S)) were significantly down-regulated following exposure to AMPK activators through an AMPK-independent mechanism. Furthermore, in cells over-expressing cFLIP(L), sensitization to TRAIL by AMPK activators was markedly reduced. In summary, our results indicate that AMPK activators facilitate the activation by TRAIL of an apoptotic cell death program through a mechanism independent of AMPK and dependent on the down-regulation of cFLIP levels.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a validated target for therapy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Most patients, however, either do not benefit or develop resistance to specific inhibitors of the EGFR tyrosine kinase activity, such as gefitinib or erlotinib. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a key intracellular kinase integrating proliferation and survival pathways and has been associated with resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. In this study, we assessed the effects of combining the mTOR inhibitor everolimus (RAD001) with gefitinib on a panel of NSCLC cell lines characterized by gefitinib resistance and able to maintain S6K phosphorylation after gefitinib treatment. Everolimus plus gefitinib induced a significant decrease in the activation of MAPK and mTOR signaling pathways downstream of EGFR and resulted in a growth-inhibitory effect rather than in an enhancement of cell death. A synergistic effect was observed in those cell lines characterized by high proliferative index and low doubling time. These data suggest that treatment with everolimus and gefitinib might be of value in the treatment of selected NSCLC patients that exhibit high tumor proliferative activity.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity of tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to trigger apoptosis preferentially in cancer cells, although sparing normal cells, has motivated clinical development of TRAIL receptor agonists as anti-cancer therapeutics. The molecular mechanisms responsible for the differential TRAIL sensitivity of normal and cancer cells are, however, poorly understood. Here, we show a novel signalling pathway that activates cytoprotective autophagy in untransformed human epithelial cells treated with TRAIL. TRAIL-induced autophagy is mediated by the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that inhibits mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, a potent inhibitor of autophagy. Interestingly, the TRAIL-induced AMPK activation is refractory to the depletion of the two known AMPK-activating kinases, LKB1 and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent kinase kinase-beta, but depends on transforming growth factor-beta-activating kinase 1 (TAK1) and TAK1-binding subunit 2. As TAK1 and AMPK are ubiquitously expressed kinases activated by numerous cytokines and developmental cues, these data are most likely to have broad implications for our understanding of cellular control of energy homoeostasis as well as the resistance of untransformed cells against TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
The EMBO Journal 03/2009; 28(6):677-85. · 9.82 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this study, we examined the mechanism of action of the novel epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor 5-benzylidene-hydantoin UPR1024, whose structure was designed to interact at the ATP-binding site of EGFR. The compound had antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects when tested on the non-small cell lung cancer cell line A549. The growth inhibitory effect was associated with an accumulation of the cells in the S phase of the cell cycle. Moreover, UPR1024 induced significant level of DNA strand breaks associated with increased expression of p53 and p21(WAF1) proteins, suggesting an additive mechanism of action. The presence of wild-type p53 improved the drug efficacy, although the effect was also detectable in p53 null cells. We also noted apoptotic cell death after treatment with UPR1024 at concentrations above 10 mumol/L for >24 h, with involvement of both the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways. The present data show that UPR1024 may be considered a combi-molecule capable of both blocking EGFR tyrosine kinase activity and inducing genomic DNA damage. UPR1024 or its derivatives might serve as a basis for development of drugs for the treatment of lung cancer in patients resistant to classic tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2008; 7(2):361-70. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Loss of FHIT expression and p53 mutations are critical events in the early stages of lung carcinogenesis. The restoration of Fhit function in FHIT-negative cancer cells has been reported to cause tumour suppression by inhibition of cell proliferation and/or activation of apoptotic pathways. However, the studies designed to elucidate the biological role of Fhit and its potential interaction with p53 have produced conflicting results. We investigated here the effects of the simultaneous restoration of FHIT and p53 in Calu-1 cells by using a hormone-inducible gene expression system. We demonstrate that the restoration of FHIT expression reinforces the anti-proliferative effect associated with the simultaneous replacement of p53. Indeed, a more pronounced inhibition of cell proliferation associated with an earlier and higher induction of p21(waf1) mRNA and protein expression was observed in Fhit/p53-expressing cells compared with cells expressing p53 alone. This effect was not due to Fhit-mediated up-regulation of p53 expression; in fact p53 protein was expressed at the same level in both FHIT-positive and FHIT-negative cell clones. Consistent with this result, Fhit did not affect the expression of MDM2, a protein known to interact directly with p53 and target p53 for proteolytic degradation, thus down-regulating its activity.
Cancer Letters 03/2007; 246(1-2):69-81. · 4.26 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exposure of C2C12 muscle cells to hypertonic stress induced an increase in cell content of creatine transporter mRNA and of creatine transport activity, which peaked after about 24 h incubation at 0.45 osmol (kg H(2)O)(-1). This induction of transport activity was prevented by addition of either cycloheximide, to inhibit protein synthesis, or of actinomycin D, to inhibit RNA synthesis. Creatine uptake by these cells is largely Na(+) dependent and kinetic analysis revealed that its increase under hypertonic conditions resulted from an increase in V(max) of the Na(+)-dependent component, with no significant change in the K(m) value of about 75 mumol l(-1). Quantitative real-time PCR revealed a more than threefold increase in the expression of creatine transporter mRNA in cells exposed to hypertonicity. Creatine supplementation significantly enhanced survival of C2C12 cells incubated under hypertonic conditions and its effect was similar to that obtained with the well known compatible osmolytes, betaine, taurine and myo-inositol. This effect seemed not to be linked to the energy status of the C2C12 cells because hypertonic incubation caused a decrease in their ATP content, with or without the addition of creatine at 20 mmol l(-1) to the medium. This induction of creatine transport activity by hypertonicity is not confined to muscle cells: a similar induction was shown in porcine endothelial cells.
The Journal of Physiology 11/2006; 576(Pt 2):391-401. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because reports in the literature on the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on expression of the 70-kDa heat-shock protein (HSP70) are somewhat contradictory, we studied the influence of low-frequency EMFs on the accumulation of inducible HSP70 in several cell models. Some of the cell types tested showed increased levels of HSP70 protein when exposed for 24 h to 50 Hz, 680 microT EMFs. In endothelial cells, EMFs alone induced only a poor and transient activation of the heat-shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1); however, neither the level of HSP70 mRNA nor the synthesis of HSP70 appeared to be altered significantly. Accordingly, transfection experiments involving HSP70 promoter showed that gene transcription was not affected. We also noted a marked reduction in proteasome activities in cell extracts exposed to EMFs. Interestingly, the heat-shock-induced levels of HSP70 mRNA and protein were increased by a concomitant weak stressor like EMFs. Taken together, our results indicate that in EMF-exposed endothelial cells, HSP70 gene transcription and translation are unaffected; however, EMFs alone promoted accumulation of the inducible HSP70 protein, probably by increasing its stability, and it enhanced accumulation and translation of the heat-induced HSP70 mRNA when applied in concert with heat shock.
Radiation Research 02/2006; 165(1):95-104. · 2.70 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Jurkat cells, the decreased cell growth rate associated with a long-lasting deactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (S6K)-signaling pathway generates a cell population of progressively reduced cellular mass and size. When promoted by rapamycin as prototype inhibitor, the mTOR deactivation-dependent cell size reduction was associated with slowed, but not suppressed, proliferation. Small-size cells were significantly protected from apoptosis induced by Fas/Apo-1 death-receptor activation (as shown by reduced procaspase cleavage and decreased catalytic activity of relevant caspases) or by stress signals-dependent mitochondrial perturbation (as shown by reduced cleavage of caspase-2, lower dissipation of mitochondrial membrane potential and decreased release of cytochorome c and apoptosis-inducing factor from mitochondria). Protection faded when reactivation of the mTOR/S6K pathway promoted the cell recovery to normal size. These results suggest that cells induced to reduce their mass by the mTOR deactivation-dependent inhibition of cell growth become more resilient to lethal assaults by curbing the cell's suicidal response.
Cell Death and Differentiation 11/2005; 12(10):1344-57. · 8.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) mediates a signaling pathway that couples amino acid availability to S6 kinase (S6K) activation, translational initiation and cell growth rate, participating to a versatile checkpoint that inspects the energy status of the cell. The pathway is activated by branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), leucine being the most effective, whereas amino acid dearth and ATP shortage lead to its deactivation. Glutamine- or amino acid-deprivation and hyperosmotic stress induce a fast cell shrinkage (with marked decrease of the intracellular water volume) associated to mTOR-dependent S6K1 dephosphorylation. Using cultured Jurkat cells, we have measured the changes of cell content and intracellular concentration of ATP, of relevant amino acids (BCAA) and of ninhydrin-positive substances (NPS, as measure of NH(2)-bearing organic osmolytes) under conditions that deactivate (leucine-deprivation, glutamine-deprivation, amino acid withdrawal, sorbitol-induced hyperosmotic stress) or reactivate a previously deactivated, mTOR-S6K1 pathway. We have also assessed the mitochondrial function by measurements of mitochondrial transmembrane potential in cells subjected to hypertonic stress. Our results indicate that diverse control signals converge on the mTOR-S6K1 signaling pathway. In the presence of adequate energy resources, the pathway senses the amino acid availability as inward transport of effective amino acids (as BCAA and especially leucine), but its activation occurs only in the presence of an extracellular amino acid complement, with glutamine as obligatory component, and does not tolerate decrements of cell water volume incapable of maintaining adequate intracellular physicochemical conditions.
Journal of Cellular Physiology 08/2005; 204(1):155-65. · 4.22 Impact Factor