Caffeine induces G2/M arrest and apoptosis via a novel p53-dependent pathway in NB4 promyelocytic leukemia cells

Keisuke Ito, Tomonori Nakazato, Yoshitaka Miyakawa, Kenji Yamato, Yasuo Ikeda, Masahiro Kizaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


Methylxantine derivative, caffeine, is known to prevent the p53-dependent apoptosis pathway via inhibition of ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) kinase, which activates p53 by phosphorylation of the Ser-15 residue. In contrast, it has been reported that caffeine induces p53-mediated apoptosis through Bax protein in non-small-cell lung cancer cells. Therefore, the effects of caffeine on cellular growth in malignant cells are controversial. We investigated the effects of caffeine on cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, and induction of apoptosis in NB4 promyelocytic leukemia cells containing wild-type p53. Caffeine suppressed the cellular growth of NB4 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Caffeine induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in NB4 cells in association with the induction of phosphorylation at the Ser-15 residue of p53 and induction of tyrosine phosphorylation of cdc2. Expression of Bax protein was increased in NB4 cells after treatment with caffeine. Interestingly, the antisense oligonucleotides for p53 significantly reduced p53 expression and caffeine-induced G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in NB4 cells. These results suggest that caffeine induces cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in association with activation of p53 by a novel pathway to phosphorylate the Ser-15 residue and induction of phosphorylation of cdc 2 in leukemic cells with normal p53.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)276-283
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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