Chromium(VI) induces p53-dependent apoptosis in diploid human lung and mouse dermal fibroblasts.
Some forms of hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] are known to cause damage to respiratory-tract tissue and DNA and are thought to be human lung carcinogens. In general, Cr(VI) is mutagenic and carcinogenic at doses that also evoke some cell death, and we previously showed that the predominant mode of death is apoptosis. Because p53 has been shown to initiate apoptosis after genotoxic insults, the objective of these experiments was to determine whether p53 is activated in and necessary for apoptosis of normal diploid human lung fibroblasts (HLF cells) after chromium exposure. By using annexin(V) staining and fluorescent microscopy, we found that Cr(VI) caused up to 14% of HLF cells to undergo apoptosis within 24 h after exposure. In addition, by using western blotting, we found that p53 protein levels increased fourfold to sixfold after exposure to sodium chromate. Because the major function of p53 is as a transcription factor, it must be translocated from the cytoplasm to the nucleus after chromate exposure to be active. Immunofluorescence studies using an antibody against p53 showed that, after chromate exposure, p53 was located in the nucleus of the treated HLF cells. The necessity of p53 for chromium-induced apoptosis was examined in two ways. One approach used dermal fibroblasts from p53 wild-type, heterozygous, and null mice, and the other approach used HLF cells that were transiently transfected with the human papilloma virus E6 gene, which targets p53 for degradation and creates a functional p53-null cell. These studies showed that chromium-induced apoptosis was p53 dependent. Mol. Carcinog. 28:111-118, 2000.
Carlisle, DL; Pritchard, DE; Singh, J; Patierno, SR
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