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Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of nicotinamide mononucleotide from nicotinamide (Nam) in the salvage pathway of mammalian NAD biosynthesis. Several potent NAMPT inhibitors have been identified and used to investigate the role of intracellular NAD and to develop therapeutics. NAD depletion induced by NAMPT inhibitors depolarizes mitochondrial membrane potential and causes apoptosis in a range of cell types. However, the mechanisms behind this depolarization have not been precisely elucidated. We observed that apoptosis of THP-1 cells in response to NAMPT inhibitors was reduced by the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) inhibitor KN-93 via an unknown mechanism. The inactive analog of KN-93, KN-92, exhibited the same activity, but the CaMKII-inhibiting cell-permeable autocamtide-2-related inhibitory peptide II did not, indicating that the inhibition of THP-1 cell apoptosis was not dependent on CaMKII. In evaluating the mechanism of action, we confirmed that KN-93 did not inhibit decreases in NAD levels but did inhibit decreases in mitochondrial membrane potential, indicating that KN-93 exerts inhibition upstream of the mitochondrial pathway of apoptosis. Further, qPCR analysis of the Bcl-2 family of proteins showed that Bim is efficiently expressed following NAMPT inhibition and that KN-92 did not inhibit this expression. The L-type Ca(2+) channel blockers verapamil and nimodipine partially inhibited apoptosis, indicating that part of this effect is dependent on Ca(2+) channel inhibition, as both KN-93 and KN-92 are reported to inhibit L-type Ca(2+) channels. On the other hand, KN-93 and KN-92 did not markedly inhibit apoptosis induced by anti-cancer agents such as etoposide, actinomycin D, ABT-737, or TW-37, indicating that the mechanism of inhibition is specific to apoptosis induced by NAD depletion. These results demonstrate that NAD depletion induces a specific type of apoptosis that is effectively inhibited by the KN-93 series of compounds. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Mikio Takeuchi, Tomoko Yamamoto. Apoptosis induced by NAD depletion is inhibited by KN-93 in a CaMKII-independent manner. Experimental cell research. 2015 Jul 1;335(1):62-7

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PMID: 26024774

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