To maintain tissue homeostasis, apoptosis is functionally linked to the cell cycle through the retinoblastoma (Rb)/E2F pathway. When the Rb tumor suppressor protein is functionally inactivated, E2F1 elicits an apoptotic response through both intrinsic (caspase-9 mediated) and extrinsic (caspase-8 mediated) apoptotic pathways in order to eliminate hyperproliferative cells. Rb/E2F-associated apoptosis has been demonstrated to be associated with the loss of constitutive transcriptional repression by Rb/E2F complexes and mediated by caspase-8. Protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) PTP-1B and SHP-2 have been previously shown to be directly activated by loss of Rb/E2F repression during Rb/E2F-associated apoptosis. In this current study, we demonstrate that the PTEN tumor suppressor is also directly activated by loss of Rb/E2F repression. We also demonstrate that PTP-1B, SHP-2, and PTEN play a functional role in Rb/E2F-associated apoptosis. Knockdown of PTP1B, SHP2, or PTEN expression with small interfering RNA (siRNA) in apoptotic cells increases cell viability and rescues cells from the Rb/E2F-associated apoptotic response. Furthermore, rescue from apoptosis coincides with inhibition of caspase-8 and caspase-3 cleavage (activation). Our results indicate PTP-1B, SHP-2, and PTEN all play a functional role in Rb/E2F-associated apoptotic signal transduction and provide further evidence that PTP-1B, SHP-2, and PTEN can contribute to tumor suppression through an Rb/E2F-associated mechanism.
Apoptosis is intimately connected to cell cycle regulation via the Retinoblastoma (Rb)-E2F pathway and thereby serves an essential role in tumor suppression by eliminating aberrant hyperproliferative cells. Upon loss of Rb activity, an apoptotic response can be elicited through both p53-dependent and p53-independent mechanisms. While much of this apoptotic response has been attributed to the p19ARF/p53 pathway, increasing evidence has supported the role of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in contributing to the initiation of the Rb-E2F-associated apoptotic response. One protein tyrosine phosphatase, PTP-1B, which is induced by the Rb-E2F pathway, has been shown to contribute to a p53-independent apoptotic pathway by inactivating focal adhesion kinase. This report identifies two additional PTPs, SHP-2 and PTP-PEST, that are also directly activated by the Rb-E2F pathway and which can contribute to signal transduction during p53-independent apoptosis.
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