Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 3785–3795 | Cite as

Methyl methanesulfonate induces necroptosis in human lung adenoma A549 cells through the PIG-3-reactive oxygen species pathway

  • Ying Jiang
  • Shigang Shan
  • Linfeng Chi
  • Guanglin Zhang
  • Xiangjing Gao
  • Hongjuan Li
  • Xinqiang Zhu
  • Jun Yang
Research Article


Methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) is an alkylating agent that can induce cell death through apoptosis and necroptosis. The molecular mechanisms underlying MMS-induced apoptosis have been studied extensively; however, little is known about the mechanism for MMS-induced necroptosis. Therefore, we first established MMS-induced necroptosis model using human lung carcinoma A549 cells. It was found that, within a 24-h period, although MMS at concentrations of 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 μM can induce DNA damage, only at higher concentrations (400 and 800 μM) MMS treatment lead to necroptosis in A549 cells, as it could be inhibited by the specific necroptotic inhibitor necrostatin-1, but not the specific apoptotic inhibitor carbobenzoxy-valyl-alanyl-aspartyl-[O-methyl]-fluoromethylketone (Z-VAD-fmk). MMS-induced necroptosis was further confirmed by the induction of the necroptosis biomarkers including the depletion of cellular NADH and ATP and leakage of LDH. This necroptotic cell death was also concurrent with the increased expression of p53, p53-induced gene 3 (PIG-3), high mobility group box-1 protein (HMGB1), and receptor interaction protein kinase (RIP) but not the apoptosis-associated caspase-3 and caspase-9 proteins. Elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was also involved in this process as the specific ROS inhibitor (4-amino-2,4-pyrrolidine-dicarboxylic acid (APDC)) can inhibit the necroptotic cell death. Interestingly, knockdown of PIG-3 expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) treatment can inhibit the generation of ROS. Taken together, these results suggest that MMS can induce necroptosis in A549 cells, probably through the PIG-3-ROS pathway.


Methyl methanesulfonate ROS PIG-3 Apoptosis Necroptosis 



Methyl methanesulfonate


Double-strand break


p53-induced gene 3


Dichlorodihydrofluorescein diacetate


High mobility group box-1 protein


Receptor interaction protein kinase


4-Amino-2,4-pyrrolidine-dicarboxylic acid



This work was supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81172692, 81373036, and 81202241); Zhejiang Provincial Department of Science and Technology (2013C14016); Ministry of Science and Technology, China (2009DFB30390); and Post Doctor Science Fundation of China (No. 2011M501356). J. Yang is a recipient of the Zhejiang Provincial Program for the Cultivation of High-Level Innovative Health Talents.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ying Jiang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shigang Shan
    • 2
  • Linfeng Chi
    • 3
  • Guanglin Zhang
    • 3
  • Xiangjing Gao
    • 4
  • Hongjuan Li
    • 5
  • Xinqiang Zhu
    • 3
  • Jun Yang
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Suzhou Biological Technology Co. Ltd. of Centre Testing International CorporationKunshanChina
  2. 2.College of Pharmaceutical SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of ToxicologyZhejiang University School of Public HealthHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Zhejiang Provincial Center for Disease Control and PreventionHangzhouChina
  5. 5.Department of ToxicologyHangzhou Normal University School of MedicineHangzhouChina
  6. 6.Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious DiseasesThe First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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