Bcl-2 down modulation in WEHI-3B/CTRES cells resistant to Cholera Toxin (CT)-induced apoptosis

Augusto Pessina, Cristina Croera, Nicoletta Savalli, Arianna Bonomi, Loredana Cavicchini, Elisa Turlizzi, Fabiana Guizzardi, Lucia Guido, Laura Daprai, Maria Grazia Neri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The very different effects of Cholera Toxin (CT) on cell growth and proliferation may depend on the type of ganglioside receptors in cell membranes and different signal transduction mechanisms triggered, but other functions related to the drug resistance mechanisms can not be excluded. The effect of CT treatment on the "in vitro" clonogenicity, the Population Doubling Time (PDT), apoptosis, PKA activation and Bax and Bcl-2 expression was evaluated in WEHI-3B cell line and its CT-resistant subclone (WEHI-3B/CTRES). In WEHI-3B parental cells the dramatic accumulation of cAMP induced by CT correlated well with PKA activation, increased PDT value, inhibition of clonogenicity and apoptosis. H-89 treatment inhibited PKA activation by CT but did not protect the cells from apoptosis and growth inhibition. In WEHI-3B/CTRES no significant CT-dependent accumulation of cAMP occurred with any increase of PKA activity and PDT. In CT resistant cells (WEHI-3B/CTRES), Bcl-2 expression was down regulated by both CT or drug treatment (eg., ciprofloxacin, CPX) although these cells were protected from CT-dependent apoptosis but not from drug-induced apoptosis. Differently from other cell models described, down regulation of Bcl-2 is proved to be independent on cAMP accumulation and PKA activation. Our observations support the implication of cAMP dependent kinase (PKA) in the inhibition of WEHI-3B cells growth and suggest that, in WEHI-3B/CTRES, Bcl-2 expression could be modulated by CT in the absence of cAMP accumulation. Also in consideration of many contradictory data reported in literature, our cell models (of one sensitive parental cell strain and two clones with different uncrossed specific resistance to CT and CPX) provides a new and interesting tool for better investigating the relationship between the CT signal transduction mechanisms and Bcl-2 expression and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalCell Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Apoptosis
  • Bcl-2
  • Cholera toxin
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • PKA
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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