Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is known to induce apoptosis, but recently, TNF was shown to promote cell survival, a process regulated by phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K) and the NFκB pathway. In this study, we investigated the relationship between the molecules implicated in regulating TNF-induced cell survival and apoptosis induced by TNF in a human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell line (SAS), with special reference to the Akt pathway, one of the pathways related to cell survival. In SAS cells, TNF induced the phosphorylation of Akt at both Ser473 and Thr308, causing the activation of Akt, and also induced the phosphorylation and degradation of IκB (inhibitor of NFκB). This phosphorylation and degradation was inhibited by pretreating the cells with the PI3K inhibitors, wortmannin or LY294002. The apoptosis of SAS cells induced by TNF was dependent on the concentration: a high concentration of TNF, but not a low concentration, induced apoptosis within 30 h. However, a low concentration of TNF in the presence of wortmannin or LY294002 induced apoptosis. Furthermore, expression of the kinase-negative form of Akt, IKKα or IKKβ, and the undegradable mutant of IκB, also induced apoptosis at low concentrations of TNF. When the SAS cells expressed constitutively activated Akt, apoptosis was not induced, even by high concentrations of TNF. These observations suggest that, in the SAS cell line, the PI3K-NFκB pathway contributes to TNF-induced cell survival and that inhibition of this pathway accelerates apoptosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology