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Endothelin-1 Is A Potent Survival Factor For C-Myc-Dependent Apoptosis

Masayoshi Shichiri, John M. Sedivy, Fumiaki Marumo, Yukio Hirata

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Abstract Many vertebrate cells are resistant to apoptotic stimuli, whose variety and the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Endothelin-1 is an endothelium-derived vasoactive peptide that mediates many physiological functions, such as vasoconstriction and cell proliferation. Deregulated expression of c-Myc induces apoptosis in serum-deprived fibroblasts. Using a panel of isogenic fibroblast cell lines with differential c-myc expression levels, we demonstrate that low doses of endothelin-1 protect fibroblasts against serum deprivation-induced apoptosis, which occurs through a c-Myc-dependent process. The endothelin-1-induced cell survival was mediated by the ETA receptor and was not linked to the ability of endothelin-1 to induce cell proliferation. The survival function of endothelin-1 was abrogated by inhibiting the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. These results demonstrate a hitherto unappreciated role of endothelin-1 as a potent survival factor for c-Myc-dependent apoptosis, a process mediated by the ETA receptor and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.