Differential PKA activation and AKAP association determines cell fate in cancer cells

Erik D. Hedrick, Ekta Agarwal, Premila D. Leiphrakpam, Katie L. Haferbier, Michael G. Brattain, Sanjib Chowdhury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background: The dependence of malignant properties of colorectal cancer (CRC) cells on IGF1R signaling has been demonstrated and several IGF1R antagonists are currently in clinical trials. Recently, we identified a novel pathway in which cAMP independent PKA activation by TGFβ signaling resulted in the destabilization of survivin/XIAP complex leading to increased cell death. In this study, we evaluated the effect of IGF1R inhibition or activation on PKA activation and its downstream cell survival signaling mechanisms. Methods: Small molecule IGF1R kinase inhibitor OSI-906 was used to test the effect of IGF1R inhibition on PKA activation, AKAP association and its downstream cell survival signaling. In a complementary approach, ligand mediated activation of IGF1R was performed and AKAP/PKA signaling was analyzed for their downstream survival effects. Results: We demonstrate that the inhibition of IGF1R in the IGF1R-dependent CRC subset generates cell death through a novel mechanism involving TGFβ stimulated cAMP independent PKA activity that leads to disruption of cell survival by survivin/XIAP mediated inhibition of caspase activity. Importantly, ligand mediated activation of the IGF1R in CRC cells results in the generation of cAMP dependent PKA activity that functions in cell survival by inhibiting caspase activity. Therefore, this subset of CRC demonstrates 2 opposing pathways organized by 2 different AKAPs in the cytoplasm that both utilize activation of PKA in a manner that leads to different outcomes with respect to life and death. The cAMP independent PKA activation pathway is dependent upon mitochondrial AKAP149 for its apoptotic functions. In contrast, Praja2 (Pja2), an AKAP-like E3 ligase protein was identified as a key element in controlling cAMP dependent PKA activity and pro-survival signaling. Genetic manipulation of AKAP149 and Praja2 using siRNA KD had opposing effects on PKA activity and survivin/XIAP regulation. Conclusions: We had identified 2 cytoplasmic pathways dependent upon the same enzymatic activity with opposite effects on cell fate in terms of life and death. Understanding the specific mechanistic functions of IGF1R with respect to determining the PKA survival functions would have potential for impact upon the development of new therapeutic strategies by exploiting the IGF1R/cAMP-PKA survival signaling in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalJournal of Molecular Signaling
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • AKAP149
  • Colorectal cancer
  • IGF1R
  • PKA
  • Praja2
  • XIAP

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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