Topoisomerase II is required for mitoxantrone to signal nuclear factor kappa B activation in HL60 cells

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antigens, Neoplasm; Antineoplastic Agents; Apoptosis; Blotting, Western; Caspase 3; Caspases; Cell Line; DNA Damage; *DNA Topoisomerases, Type II; DNA-Binding Proteins; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Drug Resistance, Neoplasm; Enzyme Activation; HL-60 Cells; Humans; Isoenzymes; Mitoxantrone; NF-kappa B; Protein Isoforms; Razoxane; Thiobarbiturates; Transcription, Genetic; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha


Immunology and Infectious Disease


Topoisomerase II is a target for a number of chemotherapeutic agents used in the treatment of cancer. Its essential physiological role in modifying the topology of DNA involves the generation of transient double-strand breaks. Anti-cancer drugs, such as mitoxantrone, that target this enzyme interrupt its catalytic cycle and give rise to persistent double strand breaks, which may be lethal to a cell. We investigated the role of such lesions in signaling the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB) by this drug. Mitoxantrone activated NFkappaB and stimulated IkappaBalpha degradation in the promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL60 but not in the variant cells, HL60/MX2 cells, which lack the beta isoform of topoisomerase II and express a truncated alpha isoform that results in an altered subcellular distribution. Treatment of sensitive HL60 cells with mitoxantrone led to a depletion of both isoforms, suggesting the stabilization of transient DNA-topoisomerase II complexes. This depletion was absent in the variant cells, HL60/MX2. Activation of caspase 3 by mitoxantrone was also impaired in the HL60/MX2 cells. NFkappaB activation in response to tumor necrosis factor and bleomycin, the latter causing topoisomerase II-independent DNA damage, was intact in both cell lines. An inhibitor rather than a poison of topoisomerase II, Imperial Cancer Research Fund 187 (ICRF 187) the mechanism of which does not involve the generation of double strand breaks, did not activate NFkappaB, nor did it induce apoptosis in parental HL60 cells. However, ICRF 187 protected against IkappaB degradation in parental HL60 cells in response to mitoxantrone. This protection was also shown with another topoisomerase II inhibitor, merbarone, which is structurally and functionally distinct from ICRF 187. Their effects were specific, as neither protected against tumor necrosis factor-stimulated IkappaB degradation. The poisoning of topoiso- merase II with resultant DNA damage is therefore a critical signal for NFkappaB activation.


J Biol Chem. 2000 Aug 18;275(33):25231-8.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of biological chemistry

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID