A considerable amount of evidence indicates that Ras signaling contributes to the development of endometrial cancer. We previously demonstrated that endometrial cancer cells carrying oncogenic [12Val]K-ras were susceptible to apoptosis. The present study examined the role of K-and H-Ras in the induction of apoptosis using rat endometrial cells (RENT4 cells). We found that constitutively activated K-Ras promoted apoptotic cell death, whereas the H-Ras mutant rescued rat endometrial cells from apoptosis. Expression of a constitutively active form of Raf-1 (Raf-CAAX) promoted apoptosis, whereas expression of a constitutively active catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase, p110K227E, allowed cells to escape from apoptosis. Moreover, inhibition of the MEK-MAPK pathway by the specific inhibitor, UO126, rescued the cells from apoptosis, whereas the inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase by its specific inhibitor, LY294002, promoted apoptosis in RENT4 cells expressing activated K-Ras. However, both inhibitors promoted apoptosis in RENT4 cells expressing activated H-Ras. This difference in the regulation of apoptosis by the MEK inhibitor between K-Ras- and H-Ras-expressing cells depended on the interaction of effector proteins downstream of each Ras isoform. Finally, to elucidate the role of downstream K-Ras signal pathways, we generated K-Ras effector domain mutants (K12V35S, K12V40C). We examined the incidence of apoptotic cell death induced by the K-Ras effector domain mutants (K12V35S, K12V40C). The relative ratio of phospho-MAPK to phospho-Akt compared with that of mock cells was higher in K12V35S cells than in K12V40C cells. Ectopic expression of K12V35S protein increased the proportion of apoptotic cells, and in turn, the expression of K12V40C protein decreased compared with the expression of K12V protein without the effector domain mutant. These results demonstrate that K- and H-Ras-mediated signaling pathways exert distinct effects on apoptosis and that K-Ras downstream Raf/MEK/MAPK pathway is required for the induction of apoptosis in endometrial cells. Coordination of the two pathways contributes to endometrial cell survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research