Inhibition of mammalian target of rapamycin activates apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 signaling by suppressing protein phosphatase 5 activity

Shile Huang, Lili Shu, John Easton, Franklin C. Harwood, Glen S. Germain, Hidenori Ichijo, Peter J. Houghton

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Under serum-free conditions, rapamycin, an inhibitor of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), induces a cellular stress response characterized by rapid and sustained activation of the apoptosis signal-regulating M-nase 1 (ASK1) signaling pathway and selective apoptosis of cells lacking functional p53. Here we have investigated how mTOR regulates ASK1 signaling using p53-mutant rhabdomyosarcoma cells. In Rh30 cells, ASK1 was found to physically interact with protein phosphatase 5 (PP5), previously identified as a negative regulator of ASK1. Rapamycin did not affect either protein level of PP5 or association of PP5 with ASK1. Instead, rapamycin caused rapid dissociation of the PP2A-B″ regulatory subunit (PR72) from the PP5-ASK1 complex, which was associated with reduced phosphatase activity of PP5. This effect was dependent on expression of eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1). Down-regulation of PP5 activity by rapamycin coordinately activated ASK1, leading to elevated phosphorylation of c-Jun. Amino acid deprivation, which like rapamycin inhibits mTOR signaling, also inhibited PP5 activity, caused rapid dissociation of PR72, and activated ASK1 signaling. Overespression of PP5, but not the PP2A catalytic subunit, blocked rapamycin-induced phosphorylation of c-Jun, and protected cells from rapamycin-induced apoptosis. The results suggest that PP5 is downstream of mTOR, and positively regulated by the mTOR pathway. The findings suggest that in the absence of serum factors, mTOR signaling suppresses apoptosis through positive regulation of PP5 activity and suppression of cellular stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36490-36496
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 27 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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