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Retinoic acid enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis in cancer cells by upregulating TRAIL receptor 1 expression.

ABSTRACT: Many human cancer cells are sensitive to killing by the proapoptotic ligand TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), which is under study for cancer treatment in clinical trials. The TRAIL receptor (TRAIL-R1; also known as death receptor 4) is a transmembrane receptor that mediates TRAIL-induced apoptosis in cancer cells. In this study, we show that retinoids sensitize cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by upregulating expression of TRAIL-R1. All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) upregulated TRAIL-R1 expression in human cancer cells at the transcriptional level. The ability of ATRA to activate TRAIL-R1 expression was inhibited by retinoic acid receptor (RAR) antagonists or siRNAs, but augmented by several RAR agonists. In analyzing how ATRA induces RAR-dependent transcriptional upregulation of TRAIL-R1, we identified 2 putative retinoic acid response elements termed Pal-17 (a palindrome separated by 17 bases) and DR-11 (a direct repeat separated by 11 bases) in the 5'-flanking region of TRAIL-R1 gene. Deletion of DR-11, but not Pal-17, abrogated the ability of ATRA to stimulate TRAIL-R1 promoter activity. Consistent with this observation, RAR binding to DR-11, but not to Pal-17, was detected by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay in ATRA-treated cells, arguing that DR-11 was responsible for ATRA-mediated activation of the TRAIL-R1 gene. ATRA augmented TRAIL-induced apoptosis of cancer cells, and this activity was attenuated by a blockade to upregulation of TRAIL-R1 expression. Taken together, our findings establish that ATRA accentuates TRAIL-induced apoptosis, reveal a novel mechanism by which retinoids modulate apoptosis, and suggest a novel strategy to augment the anti-cancer activity of TRAIL.

SUBMITTER: Dhandapani L 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3151668 | BioStudies | 2011-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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