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Our laboratory previously used the SEREX method in U937 cells and identified a novel leukemia-associated gene MLAA-34, a novel splice variant of CAB39L associated with acute monocytic leukemia, that exhibited anti-apoptotic activities in U937 cells. Whether MLAA-34 has an anti-apoptotic role in other tumor cells has not yet been reported. We explored whether MLAA-34 exhibited anti-apoptotic effects in HeLa cervical cancer cells and the possible mechanism of action. We generated a HeLa cell line stably expressing MLAA-34 and found that MLAA-34 overexpression had no effect on the growth, apoptosis and cell cycle of HeLa cells. However, upon treatment with arsenic trioxide (ATO) to induce apoptosis, the cell viability and colony formation ability of ATO-treated MLAA-34 stable HeLa cells were significantly higher than that of ATO-treated controls, and the apoptosis rate and proportion of G2/M cells also decreased. We found that ATO treatment of HeLa cells resulted in significant decreases in the expression of β-catenin mRNA and protein and the downstream target factors c-Myc, cyclin B1, and cyclin D1 in the Wnt signaling pathway. Notably, ATO-treated MLAA-34 stable HeLa cells showed a significant reduction in the ATO-mediated downregulation of these factors. In addition, MLAA-34 overexpression significantly increased the expression of nuclear β-catenin protein in ATO-treated cells compared with HeLa cells treated only with ATO. Thus, here we have found that the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is involved in ATO-induced apoptosis in HeLa cells. MLAA-34 reduces ATO-induced apoptosis and G2/M arrest, and the anti-apoptotic effect may be achieved by activating the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in HeLa cells.


Pengyu Zhang, Xuan Zhao, Wenjuan Zhang, Aili He, Bo Lei, Wanggang Zhang, Yinxia Chen. Leukemia-associated gene MLAA-34 reduces arsenic trioxide-induced apoptosis in HeLa cells via activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. PloS one. 2017;12(10):e0186868

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PMID: 29059232

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