Hypoxia induces protection against etoposide-induced apoptosis: molecular profiling of changes in gene expression and transcription factor activity.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: it is now well established that hypoxia renders tumor cells resistant to radio- but also chemotherapy. However, few elements are currently available as for the mechanisms underlying this protection. RESULTS: in this study, physiological hypoxia was shown to inhibit apoptosis induced in HepG2 cells by etoposide. Indeed, hypoxia reduced DNA fragmentation, caspase activation and PARP cleavage. The DNA binding activity of 10 transcription factors was followed while the actual transcriptional activity was measured using specific reporter plasmids. Of note is the inhibition of the etoposide-induced activation of p53 under hypoxia. In parallel, data from low density DNA microarrays indicate that the expression of several pro- and anti-apoptotic genes was modified, among which are Bax and Bak whose expression profile paralleled p53 activity. Cluster analysis of data unravels several possible pathways involved in the hypoxia-induced protection against etoposide-induced apoptosis: one of them could be the inhibition of p53 activity under hypoxia since caspase 3 activity parallels Bax and Bak expression profile. Moreover, specific downregulation of HIF-1alpha by RNA interference significantly enhanced apoptosis under hypoxia possibly by preventing the hypoxia mediated decrease in Bak expression without altering Bax expression. CONCLUSION: these results are a clear demonstration that hypoxia has a direct protective effect on apoptotic cell death. Moreover, molecular profiling points to putative pathways responsible for tumor growth in challenging environmental conditions and cancer cell resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.
Project description:Chemoresistance in cancer has previously been attributed to gene mutations or deficiencies. Bax or p53 deficiency can lead to resistance to cancer drugs. We aimed to find an agent to overcome chemoresistance induced by Bax or p53 deficiency. Here, we used immunoblot, flow-cytometry analysis, gene interference, etc. to show that genistein, a major component of isoflavone that is known to have anti-tumor activities in a variety of models, induces Bax/p53-independent cell death in HCT116 Bax knockout (KO), HCT116 p53 KO, DU145 Bax KO, or DU145 p53 KO cells that express wild-type (WT) Bak. Bak knockdown (KD) only partially attenuated genistein-induced apoptosis. Further results indicated that the release of AIF and endoG also contributes to genistein-induced cell death, which is independent of Bak activation. Conversely, AIF and endoG knockdown had little effect on Bak activation. Knockdown of either AIF or endoG alone could not efficiently inhibit apoptosis in cells treated with genistein, whereas an AIF, endoG, and Bak triple knockdown almost completely attenuated apoptosis. Next, we found that the Akt-Bid pathway mediates Bak-induced caspase-dependent and AIF- and endoG-induced caspase-independent cell death. Moreover, downstream caspase-3 could enhance the release of AIF and endoG as well as Bak activation via a positive feedback loop. Taken together, our data elaborate the detailed mechanisms of genistein in Bax/p53-independent apoptosis and indicate that caspase-3-enhanced Bid activation initiates the cell death pathway. Our results also suggest that genistein may be an effective agent for overcoming chemoresistance in cancers with dysfunctional Bax and p53.
Project description:Tumor hypoxia is one of the features of tumor microenvironment that contributes to chemoresistance in particular by cellular adaptations that modulate the apoptotic process. However, the mechanisms involved in this resistance still need deeper understanding. In this study, we investigated the involvement of four transcription factors, c-Myc, nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB), p53, and c-jun/activator protein 1 (AP-1) in the hypoxia-induced resistance to etoposide in HepG2 cells. Whereas the profile of c-Myc and NF-kappaB activity did not fit the effect of hypoxia on caspase 3 activity, hypoxia decreased basal p53 abundance and DNA binding activity as well as p53 etoposide-induced activation. Short interfering RNA (siRNA) silencing evidenced that p53 was required for etoposide-induced apoptosis under normoxia. An inhibition of its activity under hypoxia could thus be responsible at least in part for the protection observed under hypoxic conditions. Moreover, p53 was found to induce the expression of Bak1. We showed that Bak1 was involved in the etoposide-induced apoptosis because Bak1 siRNA decreased it. Conversely, hypoxia increased c-jun DNA binding activity in the presence of etoposide. siRNA-mediated silencing of c-jun increased the responsiveness of cells to etoposide under hypoxia, as shown by an increase in caspase 3 activity and lactate dehydrogenase release. These effects occurred in a p53-independent manner. These data evidenced that hypoxia decreased the responsiveness of HepG2 cells to etoposide at least by two independent pathways involving p53 inhibition and c-jun activation.
Project description:BH3-only protein Bid is a key player in death receptor-induced apoptosis, because it provides the link with the mitochondrial route for caspase activation. In this pathway, Bid is activated upon cleavage by caspase-8. Its BH3 domain-containing carboxy-terminal fragment subsequently provokes mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization by Bak/Bax activation. Bid has also been implicated in the apoptotic response to ionizing radiation (IR) and the topoisomerase inhibitor etoposide, anti-cancer regimens that cause double-strand (ds)DNA breaks. We confirm the existence of this pathway and show that it is p53-independent. However, the degree of Bid participation in the apoptotic response to dsDNA breaks depends on the nature of cell transformation. We used Bid-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) lines that were reconstituted with Bid to control the cellular background and demonstrated that the Bid-dependent apoptotic pathway induced by IR and etoposide operates in MEFs that are transformed by SV40, but is not evident in E1A/Ras-transformed MEFs. The Bid-dependent apoptotic response in p53-deficient SV40-transformed MEFs contributed to clonogenic execution of the cells, implying relevance for treatment outcome. In these cells, Bid acted in a conventional manner in that it required its BH3 domain to mediate apoptosis in response to IR and etoposide, and triggered apoptotic execution by indirect activation of Bak/Bax, mitochondrial permeabilization and caspase-9 activation. However, the mechanism of Bid activation was unconventional, because elimination of all known or suspected cleavage sites for caspases or other proteolytic enzymes and even complete elimination of its unstructured cleavage loop left Bid's pro-apoptotic role in the response to IR and etoposide unaffected.
Project description:Chemoresistance in cancer has previously been attributed to gene mutations or deficiency. Caspase mutations or Bax deficiency can lead to resistance to cancer drugs. We recently demonstrated that Bak initiates a caspase/Bax-independent cell death pathway. We show that Plumbagin (PL) (5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,4-napthoquinone), a medicinal plant-derived naphthoquinone that is known to have anti-tumor activity in a variety of models, induces caspase-independent cell death in HCT116 Bax knockout (KO) or MCF-7 Bax knockdown (KD) cells that express wild-type (WT) Bak. The re-expression of Bax in HCT116 Bax KO cells fails to enhance the PL-induced cell death. Additionally, Bak knockdown by shRNA efficiently attenuates PL-induced cell death. These results suggest that PL-induced cell death depends primarily on Bak, not Bax, in these cells. Further experimentation demonstrated that p53 Ser15 phosphorylation and mitochondrial translocation mediated Bak activation and subsequent cell death. Knockdown of p53 or a p53 Ser15 mutant significantly inhibited p53 mitochondrial translocation and cell death. Furthermore, we found that Akt mediated p53 phosphorylation and the subsequent mitochondrial accumulation. Taken together, our data elaborate the role of Bak in caspase/Bax-independent cell death and suggest that PL may be an effective agent for overcoming chemoresistance in cancer cells with dysfunctional caspases.
Project description:Baculoviral inhibitor of apoptosis repeat-containing (Birc)6 gene/BIRC6 (Bruce/APOLLON) encodes an inhibitor of apoptosis and a chimeric E2/E3 ubiquitin ligase in mammals. The physiological role of Bruce in antiapoptosis is unknown. Here, we show that deletion of the C-terminal half of Bruce, including the UBC domain, causes activation of caspases and apoptosis in the placenta and yolk sac, leading to embryonic lethality. This apoptosis is associated with up-regulation and nuclear localization of the tumor suppressor p53 and activation of mitochondrial apoptosis, which includes up-regulation of Bax, Bak, and Pidd, translocation of Bax and caspase-2 onto mitochondria, release of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor, and activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3. Mutant mouse embryonic fibroblasts are sensitive to multiple mitochondrial death stimuli but resistant to TNF. In addition, eliminating p53 by RNA interference rescues cell viability induced by Bruce ablation in human cell line H460. This viability preservation results from reduced expression of proapoptotic factors Bax, Bak, and Pidd and from prevention of activation of caspase-2, -9, and -3. The amount of second mitochondrial-derived activator of caspase and Omi does not change. We conclude that p53 is a downstream effector of Bruce, and, in response to loss of Bruce function, p53 activates Pidd/caspase-2 and Bax/Bak, leading to mitochondrial apoptosis.
Project description:The goal of cancer chemotherapy to induce multi-directional apoptosis as targeting a single pathway is unable to decrease all the downstream effect arises from crosstalk. Present study reports that Withanolide D (WithaD), a steroidal lactone isolated from Withania somnifera, induced cellular apoptosis in which mitochondria and p53 were intricately involved. In MOLT-3 and HCT116p53+/+ cells, WithaD induced crosstalk between intrinsic and extrinsic signaling through Bid, whereas in K562 and HCT116p53-/- cells, only intrinsic pathway was activated where Bid remain unaltered. WithaD showed pronounced activation of p53 in cancer cells. Moreover, lowered apoptogenic effect of HCT116p53-/- over HCT116p53+/+ established a strong correlation between WithaD-mediated apoptosis and p53. WithaD induced Bax and Bak upregulation in HCT116p53+/+, whereas increase only Bak expression in HCT116p53-/- cells, which was coordinated with augmented p53 expression. p53 inhibition substantially reduced Bax level and failed to inhibit Bak upregulation in HCT116p53+/+ cells confirming p53-dependent Bax and p53-independent Bak activation. Additionally, in HCT116p53+/+ cells, combined loss of Bax and Bak (HCT116Bax-Bak-) reduced WithaD-induced apoptosis and completely blocked cytochrome c release whereas single loss of Bax or Bak (HCT116Bax-Bak+/HCT116Bax+Bak-) was only marginally effective after WithaD treatment. In HCT116p53-/- cells, though Bax translocation to mitochondria was abrogated, Bak oligomerization helped the cells to release cytochrome c even before the disruption of mitochondrial membrane potential. WithaD also showed in vitro growth-inhibitory activity against an array of p53 wild type and null cancer cells and K562 xenograft in vivo. Taken together, WithaD elicited apoptosis in malignant cells through Bax/Bak dependent pathway in p53-wild type cells, whereas Bak compensated against loss of Bax in p53-null cells.
Project description:Cathelicidins are a family of bacteriocidal polypeptides secreted by macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN). LL-37, the only human cathelicidin, has been implicated in tumorigenesis, but there has been limited investigation of its expression and function in cancer. Here, we report that LL-37 activates a p53-mediated, caspase-independent apoptotic cascade that contributes to suppression of colon cancer. LL-37 was expressed strongly in normal colon mucosa but downregulated in colon cancer tissues, where in both settings its expression correlated with terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling-positive apoptotic cells. Exposure of colon cancer cells to LL-37 induced phosphatidylserine externalization and DNA fragmentation in a manner independent of caspase activation. Apoptogenic function was mediated by nuclear translocation of the proapoptotic factors, apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and endonuclease G (EndoG), through p53-dependent upregulation of Bax and Bak and downregulation of Bcl-2 via a pertussis toxin-sensitive G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) pathway. Correspondingly, colonic mucosa of cathelicidin-deficient mice exhibited reduced expression of p53, Bax, and Bak and increased expression of Bcl-2 together with a lower basal level of apoptosis. Cathelicidin-deficient mice exhibited an increased susceptibility to azoxymethane-induced colon tumorigenesis, establishing pathophysiologic relevance in colon cancer. Collectively, our findings show that LL-37 activates a GPCR-p53-Bax/Bak/Bcl-2 signaling cascade that triggers AIF/EndoG-mediated apoptosis in colon cancer cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: It is more and more recognized that hypoxia plays a role in the resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapy. However, the mechanisms underlying this resistance still need deeper understanding. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of hypoxia on this process since hypoxia is one of the hallmarks of tumor environment. RESULTS: The effect of hypoxia on the apoptosis induced by etoposide, one drug commonly used in chemotherapy, was investigated using three different cancer cell lines. Gene expression changes were also studied in order to delineate the mechanisms responsible for the hypoxia-induced chemoresistance. We observed that hypoxia differentially influenced etoposide-induced cell death according to the cancer cell type. While hypoxia inhibited apoptosis in hepatoma HepG2 cells, it had no influence in lung carcinoma A549 cells and further enhanced it in breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Etoposide increased p53 activity in all cell lines while hypoxia alone decreased it only in HepG2 cells. Hypoxia had no influence on the etoposide-induced p53 activity in A549, increased p53 abundance in MCF-7 cells but markedly decreased p53 activity in HepG2 cells. Using low density DNA arrays to detect the expression of genes involved in the regulation of apoptosis, etoposide and hypoxia were shown to each influence the expression of numerous genes, many of the ones influenced by etoposide being p53 target genes. Again, the influence of hypoxia on the etoposide-induced changes was different according to the cell type. CONCLUSION: These results evidenced that there was a striking parallelism between the effect of hypoxia on the etoposide-induced p53 stabilization as well as p53 target gene expression and its effect on the etoposide-induced apoptosis according to the cell type. They are very interesting not only because they provide one possible mechanism for the induction of chemoresistance under hypoxic conditions in cells like HepG2 but also because they indicate that not all cell types respond the same way. This knowledge is of importance in designing adequate treatment according to the type of tumors.
Project description:BCL-2 family proteins BAK and BAX orchestrate outer mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MOMP) during apoptosis by forming pores in the membrane to release apoptogenic factors that commits a cell to death. BAK and BAX therefore function as a 'point of no return' in the apoptotic cascade. BAK activation is a multi-step process involving conformational changes, mediated by BH3-only proteins or p53, which lead eventually to oligomerization and pore formation. Further, recent reports show that BAK activation is also linked to and dependent upon dephosphorylation of both tyrosine and serine residues.We hypothesized that phosphorylation of BAK at tyrosine residue 110 (Y110) was functionally important during the BAK activation process. BAK/BAX double knockout HCT116 cells expressing a phosphor-mimetic BAK mutant (BAK Y110E), showed impaired dimerization and multimerization capacity when treated with either UV irradiation or etoposide when compared to cells reconstituted to express wild-type BAK. The Y110E mutant also showed decreased release of cytochrome c from isolated mitochondria challenged with tBid protein, resulting in a failure to activate caspase 3. Interestingly, co-immunoprecipitation experiments suggest that a negative charge at this residue may be important for the recruitment of Bid to BAK, but conversely that this also impairs BAK:BAK interactions.These findings implicate dephosphorylation of Y110 as having an important mechanistic role in BAK activation, and underscores how post-translational modifications are intimately linked and coupled to the protein-protein interactions required for BAK activation during apoptosis.
Project description:Pseudomonas aeruginosa use N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone (C12) as a quorum-sensing molecule to regulate gene expression in the bacteria. It is expected that in patients with chronic infections with P.?aeruginosa, especially as biofilms, local [C12] will be high and, since C12 is lipid soluble, diffuse from the airways into the epithelium and underlying fibroblasts, capillary endothelia and white blood cells. Previous work showed that C12 has multiple effects in human host cells, including activation of apoptosis. The present work tested the involvement of Bak and Bax in C12-triggered apoptosis in mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) by comparing MEF isolated from embryos of wild-type (WT) and Bax(-/-) /Bak(-/-) (DKO) mice. In WT MEF C12 rapidly triggered (minutes to 2?h): activation of caspases 3/7 and 8, depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential (??mito ), release of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytosol, blebbing of plasma membranes, shrinkage/condensation of cells and nuclei and, subsequently, cell killing. A DKO MEF line that was relatively unaffected by the Bak/Bax-dependent proapoptotic stimulants staurosporine and etoposide responded to C12 similarly to WT MEF: activation of caspase 3/7, depolarization of ??mito and release of cytochrome C and cell death. Re-expression of Bax or Bak in DKO MEF did not alter the WT-like responses to C12 in DKO MEF. These data showed that C12 triggers novel, rapid proapoptotic Bak/Bax-independent responses that include events commonly associated with activation of both the intrinsic pathway (depolarization of ??mito and release of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytosol) and the extrinsic pathway (activation of caspase 8). Unlike the proapoptotic agonists staurosporine and etoposide that release cytochrome C from mitochondria, C12's effects do not require participation of either Bak or Bax.