JNK1 as a signaling node in VDR-BRAF induction of cell death in AML

Xuening Wang, William K. Beute, Jonathan S. Harrison, George P. Studzinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Numerous clinical studies of vitamin D, its derivatives or analogs, have failed to clearly demonstrate sustained benefits when used for the treatment of human malignant diseases. However, given the strong preclinical evidence of anti-neoplastic activity and the epidemiological associations suggesting that vitamin D compounds may have a place in cancer therapy, attempts are continuing to devise new approaches to their therapeutic use. This laboratory has developed a strategy to enhance the effectiveness of the currently standard therapy of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) by the immediate addition of the vitamin D2 analog Doxercalciferol combined with the plant polyphenol-derived Carnosic acid to AML cells previously treated with Cytarabine (AraC). Enhancement of AML cell death was noted to be dependent on VDR and BRAF kinase. Here we document that the stress-related kinase JNK is an important additional component of cell death enhancement in this protocol. Either the Knock-down or the inhibition of JNK activity reduced the enhancement of AraC-induced cell death, and we show that JNK signaling to the apoptosis regulator BIM and Caspase executioners of cell death are downstream of VDR and BRAF. A clear understanding of the molecular basis for the increased efficacy of AraC in the therapy of AML is expected to bring this regimen to a clinical trial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Braf
  • Carnosic acid
  • Foxo
  • Jnk
  • Vitamin D


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