ATR-Chk2 signaling in p53 activation and DNA damage response during cisplatin-induced apoptosis

Navjotsingh Pabla, Shuang Huang, Qing Sheng Mi, Rene Daniel, Zheng Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

240 Scopus citations


Cisplatin is one of the most effective anti-cancer drugs; however, the use of cisplatin is limited by its toxicity in normal tissues, particularly injury of the kidneys. The mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of cisplatin in cancers and side effects in normal tissues are largely unclear. Recent work has suggested a role for p53 in cisplatin-induced renal cell apoptosis and kidney injury; however, the signaling pathway leading to p53 activation and renal apoptosis is unknown. Here we demonstrate an early DNA damage response during cisplatin treatment of renal cells and tissues. Importantly, in the DNA damage response, we demonstrate a critical role for ATR, but not ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) or DNA-PK (DNA-dependent protein kinase), in cisplatin-induced p53 activation and apoptosis. We show that ATR is specifically activated during cisplatin treatment and co-localizes with H2AX, forming nuclear foci at the site of DNA damage. Blockade of ATR with a dominant-negative mutant inhibits cisplatin-induced p53 activation and renal cell apoptosis. Consistently, cisplatin-induced p53 activation and apoptosis are suppressed in ATR-deficient fibroblasts. Downstream of ATR, both Chk1 and Chk2 are phosphorylated during cisplatin treatment in an ATR-dependent manner. Interestingly, following phosphorylation, Chk1 is degraded via the proteosomal pathway, whereas Chk2 is activated. Inhibition of Chk2 by a dominant-negative mutant or gene deficiency attenuates cisplatin-induced p53 activation and apoptosis. In vivo in C57BL/6 mice, ATR and Chk2 are activated in renal tissues following cisplatin treatment. Together, the results suggest an important role for the DNA damage response mediated by ATRChk2 in p53 activation and renal cell apoptosis during cisplatin nephrotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6572-6583
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 7 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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