Anamorsin (also called CIAPIN-1) is a cell-death-defying factor, which was originally isolated as a molecule that conferred resistance to apoptosis induced by growth factor starvation. Anamorsin is ubiquitously expressed in various organs, including hematopoietic tissues like bone marrow, spleen, and thymus. Anamorsin-deficient (AM KO) mice die in late gestation. AM KO embryos are anemic and the size of the embryos is very small. It is thought that anamorsin plays a crucial role in hematopoiesis during late and/or terminal stages of differentiation and embryogenesis. Anamorsin does not show any homology to known apoptosis and cell growth regulatory molecules such as Bcl-2 family, caspase family, or signal transduction molecules. (J Exp Med 199: 581–592, 2004) Anamorsin is composed of a methyltransferase domain in the N-terminal region and a hypothetical Zn-ribbon-like motif in the C-terminal region, however, the precise biological effects of anamorsin remained to be elucidated.
In an attempt to clarify the mechanisms of the anamorsin functions, we have performed the yeast-two-hybrid assay to identify anamorsin-interacting molecules and found that PICOT (PKCθ interacting cousin of thioredoxin) preferentially bound to anamorsin. Next, we tried to determine the binding sites of anamorsin and PICOT with the yeast-two-hybrid assays by using their several deletion mutants and found that the N-terminal region (11-180aa) of anamorsin and the N-terminal region (18-117aa) of PICOT were essential for binding each other. Furthermore, we tried to examine the signaling pathways by using murine embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells produced from E-14.5 AM KO or wild type (WT) embryos. The proliferation of AM KO MEF cells was quite retarded compared with that of WT MEF cells. It is found that the phosphorylation states of ERK1/2, NFkB, and AKT were similar both in AM KO MEF cells and WT MEF cells, while PKCθ, PKCδ and p38 MAPK were more phosphorylated in AM KO MEF cells than in WT MEF cells. The expression of cyclin D1, the target molecule of p38 MAPK, was down-regulated in AM KO MEF cells. The PKC inhibitor, Rottlerin, blocked p38 MAPK phosphorylation and the p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, restored the expression of cyclin D1 and the cell growth of AM KO MEF cells.
P38 MAPK, the stress activated MAPK, and PKCs have been known to link to cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis, and also to be essential for cell survival in response to various stimuli. From our results, it was thought that PKCθ, PKCδ, and p38 MAPK activation lead to cell cycle retardation of AM KO MEF cells and anamorsin might negatively regulate PKCθ, PKCδ, and p38 MAPK cooperatively with PICOT in MEF cells. This study clarified a novel mechanism of the anamorsin functions.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.