Radiation-stimulated ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 signaling can promote cell cycle progression in human colon cancer cells

Rubén W. Carón, Adly Yacoub, Clint Mitchell, Xiaoyu Zhu, Young Hong, Takehiko Sasazuki, Senji Shirasawa, Michael P. Hagan, Steven Grant, Paul Dent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The abilities of mutated active K-RAS and H-RAS proteins, in an isogenic human carcinoma cell system, to modulate the activity of signaling pathways and cell cycle progression following exposure to ionizing radiation is largely unknown. Loss of K-RAS D13 expression in parental HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cells blunted basal ERK1/2, AKT and JNK1/2 activity by ∼70%. P38 activity was not detected. Deletion of the allele to express activated K-RAS nearly abolished radiation-induced activation of all signaling pathways. Expression of H-RAS V12 in HCT116 cells lacking an activated RAS molecule (H-RAS V12 cells) restored basal ERK1/2 and AKT activity to that observed in parental cells, but did not restore or alter basal JNK1/2 and p38 activity. In parental cells radiation (1 Gy) caused stronger ERK1/2 pathway activation compared to that of the PI3K/AKT pathway. In H-RAS V12 cells radiation caused stronger PI3K/AKT pathway activation compared to that of the ERK1/2 pathway. Radiation (1 Gy) promoted S phase entry in parental HCT116 cells within 24h, but not in either HCT116 cells lacking K-RAS D13 expression or in H-RAS V12 cells. In parental cells radiation-stimulated S phase entry correlated with ERK1/2-, JNK1/2- and PI3K-dependent increased expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin A, and to a lesser extent cyclin E, 6-24 h after exposure. Cyclin A and cyclin D1 expression were not increased by radiation in cells lacking K-RAS D13 expression or in H-RAS V12 cells. Radiation (1 Gy) modestly enhanced expression of p53, hMDM2 and p21 in parental cells 2-6h after exposure, which was abolished in cells lacking K-RAS D13 expression. Introduction of H-RAS V12 into cells lacking mutant active RAS partially restored radiation-induced expression of p21 and p53, and enhanced the induction of hMDM2 beyond that observed in parental cells. Collectively, our findings argue that the coordinated activation of multiple signaling pathways, in particular ERK1/2 and JNK1/2, by radiation is required to elevate the expression of G1 and S phase cyclin proteins and to promote S phase entry in human colon carcinoma cells expressing wild type p53. In HCT116 cells H-RAS V12 promotes hMDM2 expression after radiation exposure which correlates with reduced p53 expression and increased cell survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)456-464
Number of pages9
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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