H-Ras oncogene requires deregulation of additional oncogenes or inactivation of tumor suppressor proteins to increase cell proliferation rate and transform cells. In fact, the expression of the constitutively activated H-RasV12 induces cell growth arrest and premature senescence, which act like barriers in pre-neoplastic lesions. In our experimental model, human fibroblasts transfected with H-RasV12 show a dramatic modification of morphology. H-RasV12 expressing cells also show premature senescence followed by cell death, induced by autophagy and apoptosis. In this context, we provide evidence that in H-RasV12 expressing cells, the premature senescence is associated with cellular redox imbalance as well as with altered post-translation protein modification. In particular, redox imbalance is due to a strong reduction of total antioxidant capacity, and significant decrease of glutathione level. As the reversible addition of glutathione to cysteinyl residues of proteins is an important post-translational regulative modification, we investigated S-glutathionylation in cells expressing active H-Ras. In this contest we observed different S-glutathionylation patterns in control and H-RasV12 expressing cells. Particularly, the GAPDH enzyme showed S-glutathionylation increase and significant enzyme activity depletion in H-Ras V12 cells. In conclusion, we proposed that antioxidant defense reduction, glutathione depletion and subsequent modification of S-glutathionylation of target proteins contribute to arrest cell growth, leading to death of fibroblasts expressing constitutively active H-Ras oncogene, thus acting as oncogenic barriers that obstacle the progression of cell transformation.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 20-December-2012
Author(s): Armeni T., Ercolani L., Urbanelli L., Magini A., Magherini F., Pugnaloni A., Piva F., Modesti A., Emiliani C., Principato G.