A novel form of constitutively active farnesylated Akt1 prevents mammary epithelial cells from anoikis and suppresses chemotherapy-induced apoptosis

Br J Cancer. 2002 Oct 7;87(8):924-32. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600566.


Protein kinase B/Akt has been described as a central mediator of anti-apoptotic signals transduced by the PI3 kinase. Although the role of Akt in the suppression of apoptosis is well elucidated, a potential function of Akt in tumorigenesis and chemoresistance is less intensively documented. In this study, we describe the construction of a novel form of constitutively active Akt1, which relies on the deletion of its pleckstrin homology domain and the insertion of a C-terminal farnesylation sequence. Stable cell lines were generated with MCF10A mammary epithelial cells and A549 human NSCLC cells expressing constitutively active Akt1. Enigneered MCF10A cells were rendered resistant towards apoptosis resulting from loss of cellular substrate attachment (anoikis). We investigated the chemosensitivity of A549 cells expressing farnesylated Akt vs control cells. A profoundly decreased sensitivity towards Mitoxantrone and cisplatin was observed in cells expressing farnesylated Akt. No significant difference in sensitivity however was observed upon treatment with cell cycle specific chemotherapeutic agents like paclitaxel. Our data suggest, that Akt is a central mediator in the suppression of anoikis and modulation of chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. Therefore it represents a promising target for small molecule inhibitors to shift the apoptotic threshold in cancer cells after treatment with standard chemotherapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anoikis / drug effects*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Breast / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Protein Prenylation
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt