Increased signal transduction activity and down-regulation in human cancer cells

George Weber, Fei Shen, Noemi Prajda, Y. Albert Yeh, Hongyuan Yang, Maria Herenyiova, Katherine Y. Look

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to elucidate the behavior of signal transduction activity in rat and human carcinoma cells. Signal transduction activity was measured by the steady-state activity of the three enzymes involved in the conversion of 1-phosphatidylinositol (PI) to IP3. PI 4-kinase, PI 4-phosphate 5-kinase, and phospholipase C activities were measured by our methods. The results indicate that the steady-state activities of the three signal transduction enzymes and the end-product, IP3, were up-regulated in a transformation- and progression-linked fashion. In rat liver PI kinase, PIP kinase and PLC activities were 0.4, 0.04, and 800 nmol/hour/mg protein, respectively. PI and PIP kinase and PLC activities were increased 2-to 8-fold in five vat hepatomas and 29-, 45-, and 4-fold, respectively, in rapidly growing hepatoma 3924A. PI and PIP kinase activities as compared to normal ovary were elevated in human ovarian epithelial carcinomas (4- and 3-fold) and in OVCAR-5 cells in culture (31- and 11-fold). Compared to normal breast parenchymal cells, PI and PIP kinase activities were increased in human breast carcinoma cells (96- and 16-fold). When breast carcinoma cells were plated and expressed their neoplastic proliferative program, IP3 concentration increased 20-fold in early log phase; PI and PIP kinase activities increased 11-fold in mid log phase; PLC activity did not change throughout. PI and PIP kinase activities in bone marrow had short half-lives t(1/2) = 8 minutes) but PLC had a long one (t(1/2) > 6 hours). The elevated signal transduction activity was down-regulated by the anti-cancer drug, tiazofurin, and also by quercetin, an inhibitor of PI kinase. The addition of these drugs to cultured carcinoma cells reduced the IP3 concentration, and the cells were killed. These integrated studies are the first showing that signal transduction activity is stringently linked with transformation and progression in rat and human solid tumors and carcinoma cells. Down-regulation (by tiazofurin) or inhibition of PI and PIP kinase activities (by quercetin) in human carcinoma cells led to a marked reduction of IP3 concentration and to cell death. Tiazofurin and quercetin may be useful in the treatment of carcinomas with increased signal transduction capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3271-3282
Number of pages12
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number6 A
StatePublished - 1996


  • Human breast carcinoma
  • Human ovarian carcinoma
  • IP
  • Phospholipase C
  • PI kinase
  • PIP kinase
  • Quercetin
  • Rat hepatomas
  • Signal transduction
  • Tiazofurin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Increased signal transduction activity and down-regulation in human cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this