Prevention of docosahexaenoic acid-induced cytotoxicity by phosphatidic acid in Jurkat leukemic cells: The role of protein phosphatase-1

Rafat A. Siddiqui, Laura J. Jenski, Jacqueline D. Wiesehan, Michelle V. Hunter, Richard J. Kovacs, William Stillwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


The present investigation explores the role of phosphatidic acid (PA), a specific protein phosphatase-1 (PP1) inhibitor, in cytotoxicity induced by docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). The cytotoxicity of DHA was assayed by quantifying cell survival using the trypan blue exclusion method. A dose-response effect demonstrated that 5 or 10 μM DHA has no effect on Jurkat cell survival; however, 15 μM DHA rapidly decreased cell survival to 40% within 2 h of treatment. Cytotoxicity of 15 μM DHA was prevented by PA. Structurally similar phospholipids (lysophosphatidic acid, sphingosine 1-phosphate, sphingosine, and sphingosine phosphocholine) or metabolites of PA (lyso-PA and diacylglycerol) did not prevent DHA-induced cytotoxicity. PA did not produce micelles alone or in combination with DHA as examined spectrophotometrically, indicating that PA did not entrap DHA and therefore did not affect the amount of DHA available to the cells. Supporting this observation, the uptake or incorporation of [1-14C]DHA in Jurkat cells was not affected by the presence of PA. However, PA treatment reduced the amount of DHA-induced inorganic phosphate released from Jurkat leukemic cells and also inhibited DHA-induced dephosphorylation of cellular proteins. These observations indicate that PA has exerted its anti-cytotoxic effects by causing inhibition of protein phosphatase activities. Cytotoxicity of DHA on Jurkat cells was also blocked by the use of a highly specific caspase-3 inhibitor (N-acetyl-ala-ala-val-ala-leu-leu-pro-ala-val-leu-leu-ala-leu-leu-ala-pro- asp-glu-val-asp-CHO), indicating that the cytotoxic effects of DHA were due to the induction of apoptosis though activation of caspase-3. Consistent with these data, proteolytic activation of procaspase-3 was also evident when examined by immunoblotting. PA prevented procaspase-3 degradation in DHA-treated cells, indicating that PA causes inhibition of DHA-induced apoptosis in Jurkat leukemic cells. Since DHA-induced apoptosis can be inhibited by PA, we conclude that the process is mediated through activation of PP1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-200
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 19 2001


  • Apoptosis
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Jurkat cell
  • Phosphatidic acid
  • Protein phosphatase 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics

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