The Journal of cell biology

RhoA-ROCK and p38MAPK-MSK1 mediate vitamin D effects on gene expression, phenotype, and Wnt pathway in colon cancer cells.

PMID 19015318


The active vitamin D metabolite 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D(3) (1,25(OH)(2)D(3)) inhibits proliferation and promotes differentiation of colon cancer cells through the activation of vitamin D receptor (VDR), a transcription factor of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Additionally, 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) has several nongenomic effects of uncertain relevance. We show that 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) induces a transcription-independent Ca(2+) influx and activation of RhoA-Rho-associated coiled kinase (ROCK). This requires VDR and is followed by activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) and mitogen- and stress-activated kinase 1 (MSK1). As shown by the use of chemical inhibitors, dominant-negative mutants and small interfering RNA, RhoA-ROCK, and p38MAPK-MSK1 activation is necessary for the induction of CDH1/E-cadherin, CYP24, and other genes and of an adhesive phenotype by 1,25(OH)(2)D(3). RhoA-ROCK and MSK1 are also required for the inhibition of Wnt-beta-catenin pathway and cell proliferation. Thus, the action of 1,25(OH)(2)D(3) on colon carcinoma cells depends on the dual action of VDR as a transcription factor and a nongenomic activator of RhoA-ROCK and p38MAPK-MSK1.