[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p21-activated kinase (PAK) 2, a member of the PAK family of serine/threonine protein kinases, plays an important role in physiological processes such as motility, survival, mitosis, and apoptosis. However, the role of PAK2 in resistance to chemotherapy is unclear. Here we report that PAK2 is highly expressed in human breast cancer cell lines and human breast invasive carcinoma tissue compared with a human non-tumorigenic mammary epithelial cell line and adjacent normal breast tissue, respectively. Interestingly, we found that PAK2 can bind with caspase-7 and phosphorylate caspase-7 at the Ser-30, Thr-173, and Ser-239 sites. Functionally, the phosphorylation of caspase-7 decreases its activity, thereby inhibiting cellular apoptosis. Our data indicate that highly expressed PAK2 mediates chemotherapeutic resistance in human breast invasive ductal carcinoma by negatively regulating caspase-7 activity.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(25):22291-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oncoprotein c-Jun is one of the components of the activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor complex. AP-1 regulates the expression of many genes and is involved in a variety of biological functions such as cell transformation, proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. AP-1 activates a variety of tumor-related genes and therefore promotes tumorigenesis and malignant transformation. Here, we found that epidermal growth factor (EGF) induces phosphorylation of c-Jun by P21-activated kinase (PAK) 2. Our data showed that PAK2 binds and phosphorylates c-Jun at five threonine sites (Thr2, Thr8, Thr89, Thr93 and Thr286) in vitro and ex vivo. Knockdown of PAK2 in JB6 Cl41 (P+) cells had no effect on c-Jun phosphorylation at Ser63 or Ser73 but resulted in decreases in EGF-induced anchorage-independent cell transformation, proliferation and AP-1 activity. Mutation at all five c-Jun threonine sites phosphorylated by PAK2 decreased the transforming ability of JB6 cells. Knockdown of PAK2 in SK-MEL-5 melanoma cells also decreased colony formation, proliferation and AP-1 activity. These results indicated that PAK2/c-Jun signaling plays an important role in EGF-induced cell proliferation and transformation.