Topoisomerase II inhibitor ellipticine effectively suppressed the growth of human non-small-cell-lung-cancer (NSCLC) epithelial cells. Previously, we reported the drug activity was consummated through parallel nucleus migration of p53 and Akt in A549 cells. While inducing cell death, the drug activity was proved related to autophagy through phosphorylated Akt at S473. In addition, ellipticine induced cytotoxicity in p53-null H1299 cells with stable expression of ectopic p53. In this work, we further demonstrated that dominant-negative AktS473A or p53 shRNA inhibited ellipticine-mediated translocalization of p53 and Akt and attenuated apoptotic cell death in A549 cells. The presence of p53 predates ellipticine-mediated apoptotic cell death, assists in nucleus translocation of phosphorylated Akt and activation of autophagy pathway. Growth inhibition through collaborating p53 and phosphorylated Akt473 in lung epithelial cancer cells provided a new perspective of the topoisomerase inhibitor as an effective cancer therapy agent.
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