S-adenosylmethionine limitation induces p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and triggers cell cycle arrest in G1.
Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) is a key enzyme in mammalian polyamine biosynthesis that is up-regulated in various types of cancer. We previously showed that treating human neuroblastoma (NB) cells with the ODC inhibitor alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) depleted polyamine pools and induced G1 cell cycle arrest without causing apoptosis. However, the precise mechanism by which DFMO provokes these changes in NB cells remained unknown. Therefore, we further examined the effects of DFMO, alone and in combination with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 or Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) inhibitor IV, on the regulation of cell survival and cell cycle-associated pathways in LAN-1 NB cells. In the present study, we found that the inhibition of ODC by DFMO promotes cell survival by inducing the phosphorylation of Akt/PKB at residue Ser473 and glycogen synthase kinase-3beta at Ser9. Intriguingly, DFMO also induced the phosphorylation of p27Kip1 at residues Ser10 (nuclear export) and Thr198 (protein stabilization) but not Thr187 (proteasomal degradation). The combined results from this study provide evidence for a direct cross-talk between ODC-dependent metabolic processes and well-established cell signaling pathways that are activated during NB tumorigenesis. The data suggest that inhibition of ODC by DFMO induces two opposing pathways in NB: one promoting cell survival by activating Akt/PKB via the PI3K/Akt pathway and one inducing p27Kip1/retinoblastoma-coupled G1 cell cycle arrest via a mechanism that regulates the phosphorylation and stabilization of p27Kip1. This study presents new information that may explain the moderate efficacy of DFMO monotherapy in clinical trials and reveals potential new targets for DFMO-based combination therapies for NB treatment.