Inhibition of ERK1/2 or AKT Activity Equally Enhances Radiation Sensitization in B16F10 Cells

Bhuvanesh Sukhlal Kalal, Faraz Fathima, Vinitha Ramanath Pai, Ganesh Sanjeev, Chilakapati Murali Krishna, Dinesh Upadhya


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate the radiation sensitizing ability of ERK1/2, PI3K-AKT and JNK inhibitors in highly radiation resistant and metastatic B16F10 cells which carry wild-type Ras and Braf.

Methods: Mouse melanoma cell line B16F10 was exposed to 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 Gy of electron beam radiation. Phosphorylated ERK1/2, AKT and JNK levels were estimated by ELISA. Cells were exposed to 2.0 and 3.0 Gy of radiation with or without prior pharmacological inhibition of ERK1/2, AKT as well as JNK pathways. Cell death induced by radiation as well as upon inhibition of these pathways was measured by TUNEL assay using flow cytometry.

Results: Exposure of B16F10 cells to 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 Gy of electron beam irradiation triggered an increase in all the three phosphorylated proteins compared to sham-treated and control groups. B16F10 cells pre-treated with either ERK1/2 or AKT inhibitors equally enhanced radiation-induced cell death at 2.0 as well as 3.0 Gy (P < 0.001), while inhibition of JNK pathway increased radiation-induced cell death to a lesser extent. Interestingly combined inhibition of ERK1/2 or AKT pathways did not show additional cell death compared to individual ERK1/2 or AKT inhibition. This indicates that ERK1/2 or AKT mediates radiation resistance through common downstream molecules in B16F10 cells.

Conclusions: Even without activating mutations in Ras or Braf genes, ERK1/2 and AKT play a critical role in B16F10 cell survival upon radiation exposure and possibly act through common downstream effector/s.

World J Oncol. 2018;9(1):21-28



Radiation; Pathway inhibitors; Cell signalling; Cell death

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