The mechanism of muscle protein catabolism induced by proteolysis-inducing factor, produced by cachexia-inducing murine and human tumours has been studied in vitro using C2C12 myoblasts and myotubes. In both myoblasts and myotubes protein degradation was enhanced by proteolysis-inducing factor after 24 h incubation. In myoblasts this followed a bell-shaped dose-response curve with maximal effects at a proteolysis-inducing factor concentration between 2 and 4 nM, while in myotubes increased protein degradation was seen at all concentrations of proteolysis-inducing factor up to 10 nM, again with a maximum of 4 nM proteolysis-inducing factor. Protein degradation induced by proteolysis-inducing factor was completely attenuated in the presence of cycloheximide (1 μM), suggesting a requirement for new protein synthesis. In both myoblasts and myotubes protein degradation was accompanied by an increased expression of the α-type subunits of the 20S proteasome as well as functional activity of the proteasome, as determined by the 'chymotrypsin-like' enzyme activity. There was also an increased expression of the 19S regulatory complex as well as the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E214k), and in myotubes a decrease in myosin expression was seen with increasing concentrations of proteolysis-inducing factor. These results show that proteolysis-inducing factor co-ordinately upregulates both ubiquitin conjugation and proteasome activity in both myoblasts and myotubes and may play an important role in the muscle wasting seen in cancer cachexia. © 2002 Cancer Research UK.
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- proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF)
- ubiquitin-proteasome proteolysis