, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 963-971

Humanin delays apoptosis in K562 cells by downregulation of P38 MAP kinase

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Humanin (HN) is a newly identified neuroprotective peptide. In this study, we investigated its antiapoptotic effect and the potential mechanisms in K562 cells. Upon serum deprivation, expression of HN in K562 cells decreased and its intracellular distribution changed from cytoplasm to cell membrane. In HN stably transfected K562 cells, apoptosis was delayed compared with control vector transfected cells as measured by flow cytometry. Furthermore, analysis of different mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases activity revealed that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway was inhibited while p38 signaling was activated following serum deprivation in K562 cells. And in HN transfected K562 cells, ERK downregulation was not affected, but p38 activation was suppressed, which may responsible for the delayed apoptosis in these cells. Activation of the ERK signaling pathway by phorbol myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and sorbitol protected K562 cells from serum deprivation induced apoptosis. Additionally, overexpression of HN reduced megakaryocytic differentiation of K562 cells. The present data outline the role of ERK and p38 MAP kinases in serum deprivation induced apoptosis in K562 cells and figure out p38 signaling pathway as molecular target for HN delaying apoptosis in K562 cells.