School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



Pancreatic cancer is the worst exocrine gastrointestinal cancer leading to the highest mortality. Recent studies reported that aberrant expression of apurinic/apyrimidinic endodeoxyribonuclease 1 (APE1) is involved in uncontrolled cell growth. However, the molecular mechanism of APE1 biological role remains unrevealed in pancreatic cancer progression. Here, we demonstrate that APE1 accelerates pancreatic cancer cell proliferation through glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)/glial factor receptor α1 (GFRα1)/Src/ERK axis-cascade signaling. The proliferation of endogenous APE1 expressed-MIA PaCa-2, a human pancreatic carcinoma cell line, was increased by treatment with GDNF, a ligand of GFRα1. Either of downregulated APE1 or GFRα1 expression using small interference RNA (siRNA) inhibited GDNF-induced cancer cell proliferation. The MEK-1 inhibitor PD98059 decreased GDNF-induced MIA PaCa-2 cell proliferation. Src inactivation by either its siRNA or Src inhibitor decreased ERK-phosphorylation in response to GDNF in MIA PaCa-2 cells. Overexpression of GFRα1 in APE1-deficient MIA PaCa-2 cells activated the phosphorylation of Src and ERK. The expression of both APE1 and GFRα1 was gradually increased as progressing pancreatic cancer grades. Our results highlight a critical role for APE1 in GDNF-induced pancreatic cancer cell proliferation through APE1/GFRα1/Src/ERK axis-cascade signaling and provide evidence for future potential therapeutic drug targets for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.


Original published version available at

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

International Journal of Molecular Sciences



Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department

Immunology and Microbiology

Included in

Diseases Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.