Inhibition of cyclic AMP response element-directed transcription by decoy oligonucleotides enhances tumor-specific radiosensitivity

Serk In Park, Sung Jun Park, Junghan Lee, Hye Eun Kim, Su Jin Park, Jeongwon Sohn, Yun Gyu Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The radiation stress induces cytotoxic responses of cell death as well as cytoprotective responses of cell survival. Understanding exact cellular mechanism and signal transduction pathways is important in improving cancer radiotherapy. Increasing evidence suggests that cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB)/activating transcription factor (ATF) family proteins act as a survival factor and a signaling molecule in response to stress. We postulated that CREB inhibition via CRE decoy oligonucleotide increases tumor cell sensitization to γ-irradiation-induced cytotoxic stress. In the present study, we demonstrate that CREB phosphorylation and CREB DNA-protein complex formation increased in time- and radiation dose-dependent manners, while there was no significant change in total protein level of CREB. In addition, CREB was phosphorylated in response to γ-irradiation through p38 MAPK pathway. Further investigation revealed that CREB blockade by decoy oligonucleotides functionally inhibited transactivation of CREB, and significantly increased radiosensitivity of multiple human cancer cell lines including TP53- and/or RB-mutated cells with minimal effects on normal cells. We also demonstrate that tumor cells ectopically expressing dominant negative mutant CREB (KCREB) and the cells treated with p38 MAPK inhibitors were more sensitive to γ-irradiation than wild type parental cells or control-treated cells. Taken together, we conclude that CREB protects tumor cells from γ-irradiation, and combination of CREB inhibition plus ionizing radiation will be a promising radiotherapeutic approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-369
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was financially supported by the Korea University Research Grant ( K1512691 to S.I.P.), and the National Research Foundation of the Korean Government (MSIP, Grant No. 2015R1C1A1A01051508 to S.I.P.).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Cyclic AMP response element
  • Decoy
  • Radiosensitization
  • p38 MAPK
  • γ-Irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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