Protein kinase A activation by the anti-cancer drugs ABT-737 and thymoquinone is caspase-3-dependent and correlates with platelet inhibition and apoptosis

  • Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia is a common bleeding risk in cancer patients and limits chemotherapy dose and frequency. Recent data from mouse and human platelets revealed that activation of protein kinase A/G (PKA/PKG) not only inhibited thrombin/convulxin-induced platelet activation but also prevented the platelet pro-coagulant state. Here we investigated whether or not PKA/PKG activation could attenuate caspase-dependent apoptosis induced by the anti-cancer drugs ABT-737 (the precursor of navitoclax) and thymoquinone (TQ), thereby potentially limiting chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia. This is particularly relevant as activation of cyclic nucleotide signalling in combination chemotherapy is an emerging strategy in cancer treatment. However, PKA/PKG-activation, as monitored by phosphorylation of Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), did not block caspase-3-dependent platelet apoptosis induced by the compounds. In contrast, both substances induced PKA activation themselves and PKA activation correlated with platelet inhibition and apoptosis. Surprisingly, ABT-737- and TQ-induced VASP-phosphorylation was independent of cAMP levels and neither cyclases nor phosphatases were affected by the drugs. In contrast, however, ABT-737- and TQ-induced PKA activation was blocked by caspase-3 inhibitors. In conclusion, we show that ABT-737 and TQ activate PKA in a caspase-3-dependent manner, which correlates with platelet inhibition and apoptosis and therefore potentially contributes to the bleeding risk in chemotherapy patients.

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Author:Natalia Rukoyatkina, Elke ButtGND, Hariharan Subramanian, Viacheslav Nikolaev, Igor Mindukshev, Ulrich Walter, Stepan GambaryanORCiD, Peter M. BenzORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Cell death & disease
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication:London [u. a.]
Contributor(s):A. Stephanou
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2017
Date of first Publication:2017/06/29
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/04/17
Issue:6, e2898
Page Number:11
First Page:1
Last Page:11
Cell Death and Disease is an open-access journal published by Nature Publishing Group. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0