Exp Mol Med.  2010 May;42(5):327-334. 10.3858/emm.2010.42.5.034.

beta-Lapachone suppresses radiation-induced activation of nuclear factor-kappaB

  • 1Department of Microbiology, and Center for Advanced Medical Education by BK21 Project, College of Medicine, Inha University, Incheon 400-712, Korea. park001@inha.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Therapeutic Radiology-Radiation Oncology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Anticancer effects of beta-lapachone (beta-lap) are due to generation of ROS and metabolic catastrophes as a result of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1)-mediated futile cycling between the oxidized and reduced forms of beta-lap. It has been shown that NQO1 is also essential for the TNF-induced activation of NF-kappaB and that beta-lap suppresses the TNF-induced NF-kappaB activation. We investigated whether or not NQO1 is involved and beta-lap suppresses the radiation-induced NF-kappaB activation using A549 human lung cancer cells and NQO1-knock down A549 cells (shNQO1 A549 cells). Irradiation with 4 Gy markedly increased the DNA binding activity of NF-kappaB in A549 cells, but not in the shNQO1 A549 cells, thus demonstrating that NQO1 plays a pivotal role in irradiation-induced NF-kappaB activation. Treatment with 10 micrometer beta-lap for 4 h almost completely abrogated the radiation-induced increase in NF-kappaB activation and the transcription of NF-kappaB target genes such as bcl2, gadd45beta and cyclinD1. Moreover, beta-lap markedly suppressed the activation of IkappaB kinase gamma (IKKgamma) and the subsequent phosphorylation of IkappaBalpha, thereby inhibiting NF-kappaB activation. It is concluded that beta-lap suppresses the radiation-induced activation of NF-kappaB by interrupting the involvement of NQO1 in the activation of NF-kappaB, thereby inhibiting the transcription of survival signals. The radiosensitization caused by beta-lap may, in part, be attributed to beta-lap-induced suppression of NF-kappaB activation.


ionizing radiation; NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase; NF-kappaB; beta-lapachone
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