Biologic sequelae of interleukin-6 induced PI3-K/Akt signaling in multiple myeloma

Oncogene. 2001 Sep 20;20(42):5991-6000. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1204833.


Previous studies demonstrate that interleukin-6 (IL-6) mediates growth and survival in human multiple myeloma (MM) cells via the MEK/MAPK and JAK/STAT signaling pathways, respectively. IL-6 also confers protection against Dexamethasone (Dex)-induced apoptosis via activation of protein tyrosine phosphatase (SHP2). In the current study, we characterized IL-6 triggered phophatidylinositol-3 kinase/Akt kinase (PI3-K/Akt) signaling in MM cells. IL-6 induces Akt/PKB phosphorylation in a time and dose dependent manner in MM.1S MM cells. IL-6 also induced phosphorylation of downstream targets of Akt, including Bad, GSK-3beta, and FKHR, confirming Akt activation. Inhibition of Akt activation by the PI3-K inhibitor LY294002 partially blocked IL-6 triggered MEK/MAPK activation and proliferation in MM.1S cells, suggesting cross-talk between PI3-K and MEK signaling. We demonstrate that Dex-induced apoptosis in MM.1S cells is mediated by downstream activation of caspase-9, with resultant caspase-3 cleavage; and conversely, that IL-6 triggers activation of PI3-K and its association with SHP2, inactivates caspase-9, and protects against Dex-induced apoptosis. LY294002 completely abrogates this signaling cascade, further confirming the importance of PI3-K/Akt signaling in conferring the protective effect of IL-6 against Dex-induced apoptosis. Finally, we show that IL-6 triggered PI3-K/Akt signaling in MM.1S cells inactivates forkhead transcriptional factor (FKHR), with related G1/S phase transition, whereas LY294002 blocks this signaling, resulting in upregulation of p27(KIP1) and G1 growth arrest. Our data therefore suggest that PI3-K/Akt signaling mediates growth, survival, and cell cycle regulatory effects of IL-6 in MM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase 9
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Cell Cycle
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Dexamethasone / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6 / pharmacology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • Multiple Myeloma / enzymology*
  • Multiple Myeloma / pathology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / physiology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Chromones
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-6
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Morpholines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • Dexamethasone
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTPN11 protein, human
  • PTPN6 protein, human
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 11
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase, Non-Receptor Type 6
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • CASP9 protein, human
  • Caspase 9