PS-341, a novel proteasome inhibitor, induces Bcl-2 phosphorylation and cleavage in association with G2-M phase arrest and apoptosis

Yi He Ling, Leonard Liebes, Bruce Ng, Michael Buckley, Peter J. Elliott, Julian Adams, Jian Dong Jiang, Franco M. Muggia, Roman Perez-Soler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


Treatment with the proteasome inhibitor, PS-341 resulted in concentration- and time-dependent effects on Bcl-2 phosphorylation and cleavage in H460 cells that coincided with the PS-341-induced G2-M phase arrest. The observed Bcl-2 cleavage paralleled the degree of PS-341-induced apoptosis but was detected to a similar extent with comparable concentrations of two other proteasome inhibitors (MG-132 and PSI). Calpain inhibitors, ALLM and ALLN, and the caspase inhibitors, Z-VAD and AC-YVAD did not induce Bcl-2 phosphorylation and cleavage. Exposure to PS-341 resulted in an additional Mr 25,000 cleavage fragment of Bcl-2, whereas only a Mr 23,000 fragment was observed with other anticancer agents. The formation of the Mr 25,000 fragment was not prevented by caspase inhibitors unlike the Mr 23,000 fragment, which suggests mediation by a caspase-independent pathway. Cell fractionation studies revealed that the Bcl-2 cleaved fragments localize within membrane structures and was an early event (at ∼12 h, posttreatment), and before the observed cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), β-catenin, and DNA fragmentation (at ∼36 h posttreatment). The Mr 23,000 Bcl-2 cleavage product was inhibited by the pan-caspase inhibitor and the inhibitors of capase-3, -8, -9; but the PARP cleavage was prevented only by the pan-caspase and caspase-3 inhibitors, which suggests that the Mr 23,000 Bcl-2 cleavage occurred at both the initiation and execution stages of apoptosis. The inhibition of the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway by PS-341 leads, at an early stage of apoptosis, to Bcl-2 phosphorylation and a unique proteolytic cleavage product, which are associated with G2-M phase arrest and the induction of apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)841-849
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Aug 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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