Redox-regulation of ERK 1/2-directed phosphatase by reactive oxygen species: Role in signaling TPA-induced growth arrest in ML-1 cells

Kassim Traore, Rajni Sharma, Rajesh K. Thimmulappa, Walter H. Watson, Shyam Biswal, Michael A. Trush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) 1/2 activity signals myeloid cell differentiation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Previously, we reported that Erk 1/2 activation (phosphorylation) induced by TPA required reactive oxygen species (ROS) as a second messenger. Here, we hypothesized that ROS generated in response to TPA inhibit Erk1/2-directed phosphatase activity, which leads to an increase phosphorylation of Erk1/2 to signal p21WAF1/Cip1-mediated growth arrest in ML-1 cells. Incubation of ML-1 cells with TPA resulted in a marked accumulation of phosphorylated Erk1/2, and is subsequent to H2O2 generation. Interestingly, post-TPA-treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) stimulated a marked and a rapid dephosphorylation of Erk1/2, suggesting a regeneration of Erk1/2-directed phospahatase activity by NAC. ROS generation in ML-1 cells induced by TPA was suggested to occur in the mitochondrial electron transport chain (METC) based on the following observations: (i) undifferentiated ML-1 cells not only lack p67-phox and but also express a low level of p47-phox key components required for NADPH oxidase enzymatic activity, (ii) pretreatment with DPI, an inhibitor of NADH- and NADPH-dependent enzymes, or rhein, an inhibitor of complex I, blocked the ROS generation, and (iii) examination of the microarray analysis data and Western blot analysis data revealed an induction of MnSOD expression at both mRNA and protein levels in response to TPA. MnSOD is a key member of the mitochondrial defense system against mitochondrial-derived superoxide. Together, this study suggested that TPA stimulated ROS generation as a second messenger to activate Erk1/2 via a redox-mediated inhibition of Erk1/2-directed phosphatase in ML-1 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-285
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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