, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 1340–1358 | Cite as

Apicidin induces endoplasmic reticulum stress- and mitochondrial dysfunction-associated apoptosis via phospholipase Cγ1- and Ca2+-dependent pathway in mouse Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells

  • Ji Hyun Choi
  • Jung Yeon Lee
  • A-Young Choi
  • Keun-Young Hwang
  • Wonchae Choe
  • Kyung-Sik Yoon
  • Joohun Ha
  • Eui-Ju YeoEmail author
  • Insug KangEmail author
Original Paper


Apicidin, a fungal metabolite that functions as a histone deacetylase inhibitor, induces apoptosis in cancer cells. We investigated the molecular mechanisms of the anti-cancer effects of apicidin in mouse Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells. Apicidin induced apoptotic cell death and activation of caspase-12, -9, and -3. Apicidin induced expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated proteins, including CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), cleavage of activating transcription factor 6α, and phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α. Inhibition of ER stress by CHOP knockdown or using the ER stress inhibitors, salubrinal and 4-phenylbutyric acid, reduced apicidin-induced cell death. Apicidin induced reactive oxygen species accumulation and mitochondrial membrane potential loss. An antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine, reduced apicidin-induced cell death, CHOP expression, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, apicidin increased cytosolic Ca2+, which was blocked by 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate, an antagonist of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor, and BAPTA-AM, an intracellular Ca2+ chelator. 2-Aminoethoxydiphenyl borate and BAPTA-AM inhibited apicidin-induced cell death and ER stress. Interestingly, apicidin induced phosphorylation of phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and inhibition of PLCγ1 and EGFR reduced cell death and ER stress. Finally, apicidin-induced histone H3 hyperacetylation and reduction of histone deacetylase 2 mRNA expression were not affected by either a PLCγ1 inhibitor, U73122, or the antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine. Taken together, the results suggest that apicidin induces apoptosis by ER stress and mitochondrial dysfunction via PLCγ1 activation, Ca2+ release, and reactive oxygen species accumulation in Neuro-2a neuroblastoma cells.


Apicidin Apoptosis Calcium ER stress Mitochondrial dysfunction PLCγ1 



This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grants funded by the Korea government (MEST, No. 2011-0030721).

Conflict of interest

No conflict of interest is declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ji Hyun Choi
    • 1
  • Jung Yeon Lee
    • 1
  • A-Young Choi
    • 1
  • Keun-Young Hwang
    • 1
  • Wonchae Choe
    • 1
  • Kyung-Sik Yoon
    • 1
  • Joohun Ha
    • 1
  • Eui-Ju Yeo
    • 2
    Email author
  • Insug Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Medical Research Center for Bioreaction to Reactive Oxygen Species, Biomedical Science InstituteKyung Hee UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, School of MedicineGachon UniversityIncheonRepublic of Korea

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