Annexin A2 is involved in multiple cellular processes, including cell survival, growth, division, and differentiation. A lack of annexin A2 makes cells more sensitive to apoptotic stimuli. Here, we demonstrate a potential mechanism for apoptotic stimuli-induced annexin A2 cleavage, which contributes to cell cycle inhibition and apoptosis. Annexin A2 was persistently expressed around the proliferative but not the necrotic region in BALB/c nude mice with human lung epithelial carcinoma cell A549-derived tumors. Knockdown expression of annexin A2 made cells susceptible to either serum withdrawal-induced cell cycle inhibition or cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Under apoptotic stimuli, annexin A2 was time-dependently cleaved. Mechanistic studies have shown that protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A)-activated glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 is essential for this process. Therefore, inhibiting GSK-3 reversed serum withdrawal-induced cell cycle inhibition and cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, inhibiting serine proteases blocked apoptotic stimuli-induced annexin A2 cleavage. Bax activation and Mcl-1 destabilization, which is regulated by PP2A and GSK-3, caused annexin A2 cleavage via an Omi/HtrA2-dependent pathway. Taking these results together, we conclude that GSK-3 and Omi/HtrA2 synergistically cause annexin A2 cleavage and then cell cycle inhibition or apoptosis.
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