Research Paper Volume 14, Issue 4 pp 1678—1690
PKC is an indispensable factor in promoting environmental toxin chromium-mediated transformation and drug resistance
- 1 Center for Drug Discovery, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
- 2 The Department of Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi, PR China
Received: October 10, 2021 Accepted: February 8, 2022 Published: February 24, 2022https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.203917
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Copyright: © 2022 Ganapathy et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] pollution is a serious environmental problem, due to not only its toxicity but also carcinogenesis. Although studies reveal several features of Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis, the underlying mechanisms of how Cr(VI) orchestrates multiple mitogenic pathways to promote tumor initiation and progression remain not fully understood. Src/Ras and other growth-related pathways are shown to be key players in Cr(VI)-initiated tumor prone actions. The role of protein kinase C (PKC, an important signal transducer) in Cr(VI)-mediated carcinogenesis has not been thoroughly investigated. In this study, using human bronchial/lung epithelial cells and keratinocytes, we demonstrate that PKC activity is increased by transient or chronic Cr(VI) exposure, which plays no role in the activation of Src/Ras signaling and ROS upregulation by this metal toxin. PKC in chronic Cr(VI)-treated cells stabilizes Bcl-2 to mitigate doxorubicin (an anti-cancer drug)-mediated apoptosis. After the suppression of this kinase by GO6976 (a PKC inhibitor), the cells chronically exposed to Cr(VI) partially regain the sensitivity to doxorubicin. However, when co-suppressed PKC and Ras, the chronic Cr(VI)-treated cells become fully responsive to doxorubicin and are unable to be transformed. Taken together, our study provides a new insight into the mechanisms, in which PKC is an indispensable player and cooperates with other mitogenic pathways to achieve Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis as well as to establish drug resistance. The data also suggest that active PKC can serve as a potential biomarker for early detection of health damages by Cr(VI) and therapeutic target for developing new treatments for diseases caused by Cr(VI).