Signal transduction activated by the cancer chemopreventive isothiocyanates: cleavage of BID protein, tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of JNK

Br J Cancer. 2001 Mar 2;84(5):670-3. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1636.


Phenethyl isothiocyanate and allyl isothiocyanate induce apoptosis of human leukaemia HL60 cells in vitro. Apoptosis was associated with cleavage of p22 BID protein to p15, p13 and p11 fragments and activation of JNK and tyrosine phosphorylation (18 kDa and 45 kDa proteins). All these effects and apoptosis were prevented by exogenous glutathione (15 mM). Protein tyrosine phosphatase activity was unchanged. The general caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk prevented apoptosis but not JNK activation - excluding a role for caspases in JNK activation, whereas curcumin prevented JNK activation but only delayed apoptosis. This suggests that in isothiocyanate-induced apoptosis, the caspase pathway has an essential role, the JNK pathway a supporting role, and inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatases is not involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones / pharmacology
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • BH3 Interacting Domain Death Agonist Protein
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Isothiocyanates / pharmacology*
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Phosphorylation
  • Phosphotyrosine / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Amino Acid Chloromethyl Ketones
  • Anticarcinogenic Agents
  • BH3 Interacting Domain Death Agonist Protein
  • BID protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Isothiocyanates
  • benzyloxycarbonylvalyl-alanyl-aspartyl fluoromethyl ketone
  • Phosphotyrosine
  • phenethyl isothiocyanate
  • allyl isothiocyanate
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases