Gene Summary

Gene:CASP4; caspase 4, apoptosis-related cysteine peptidase
Aliases: TX, ICH-2, Mih1/TX, ICEREL-II, ICE(rel)II
Summary:This gene encodes a protein that is a member of the cysteine-aspartic acid protease (caspase) family. Sequential activation of caspases plays a central role in the execution-phase of cell apoptosis. Caspases exist as inactive proenzymes composed of a prodomain and a large and small protease subunit. Activation of caspases requires proteolytic processing at conserved internal aspartic residues to generate a heterodimeric enzyme consisting of the large and small subunits. This caspase is able to cleave and activate its own precursor protein, as well as caspase 1 precursor. When overexpressed, this gene induces cell apoptosis. Alternative splicing results in transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Tyrosine
  • Calcium
  • Proteins
  • Tunicamycin
  • Thiocarbamates
  • eIF-2 Kinase
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Sulfides
  • Caspases
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Caspases, Initiator
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Western Blotting
  • Estrogen Receptors
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Breast Cancer
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Vitamin E
  • Caspase 3
  • Cell Survival
  • Up-Regulation
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Messenger RNA
  • beta Catenin
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Mitochondria
  • Single-Stranded Conformational Polymorphism
  • CASP4
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Chromosome 11
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Apoptosis
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CASP4 (cancer-related)

Hoskins JW, Jia J, Flandez M, et al.
Transcriptome analysis of pancreatic cancer reveals a tumor suppressor function for HNF1A.
Carcinogenesis. 2014; 35(12):2670-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is driven by the accumulation of somatic mutations, epigenetic modifications and changes in the micro-environment. New approaches to investigating disruptions of gene expression networks promise to uncover key regulators and pathways in carcinogenesis. We performed messenger RNA-sequencing in pancreatic normal (n = 10) and tumor (n = 8) derived tissue samples, as well as in pancreatic cancer cell lines (n = 9), to determine differential gene expression (DE) patterns. Sub-network enrichment analyses identified HNF1A as the regulator of the most significantly and consistently dysregulated expression sub-network in pancreatic tumor tissues and cells (median P = 7.56×10(-7), median rank = 1, range = 1-25). To explore the effects of HNF1A expression in pancreatic tumor-derived cells, we generated stable HNF1A-inducible clones in two pancreatic cancer cell lines (PANC-1 and MIA PaCa-2) and observed growth inhibition (5.3-fold, P = 4.5×10(-5) for MIA PaCa-2 clones; 7.2-fold, P = 2.2×10(-5) for PANC-1 clones), and a G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis upon induction. These effects correlated with HNF1A-induced down-regulation of 51 of 84 cell cycle genes (e.g. E2F1, CDK2, CDK4, MCM2/3/4/5, SKP2 and CCND1), decreased expression of anti-apoptotic genes (e.g. BIRC2/5/6 and AKT) and increased expression of pro-apoptotic genes (e.g. CASP4/9/10 and APAF1). In light of the established role of HNF1A in the regulation of pancreatic development and homeostasis, our data suggest that it also functions as an important tumor suppressor in the pancreas.

Hsia TC, Yu CC, Hsu SC, et al.
Cantharidin induces apoptosis of H460 human lung cancer cells through mitochondria-dependent pathways.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 45(1):245-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in cancer-related diseases. Cantharidin (CTD) is one of the components of natural mylabris (Mylabris phalerata Pallas). Numerous studies have shown that CTD induced cytotoxic effects on cancer cells. However, there is no report to demonstrate that CTD induced apoptosis in human lung cancer cells. Herein, we investigated the effect of CTD on the cell death via the induction of apoptosis in H460 human lung cancer cells. Flow cytometry assay was used for examining the percentage of cell viability, sub-G1 phase of the cell cycle, reactive oxygen species (ROS) and Ca²⁺ productions and the levels of mitochondrial membrane potential (∆Ψm). Annexin V/PI staining and DNA gel electrophoresis were also used for examining cell apoptosis. Western blot analysis was used to examine the changes of apoptosis associated protein expression and confocal microscopy for examining the translocation apoptosis associated protein. Results indicated that CTD significantly induced cell morphological changes and decreased the percentage of viable H460 cells. CTD induced apoptosis based on the occurrence of sub-G1 phase and DNA fragmentation. We found that CTD increased gene expression (mRNA) of caspase-3 and -8. Moreover, CTD increased ROS and Ca2+ production and decreased the levels of ∆Ψm. Western blot analysis results showed that CTD increased the expression of cleavage caspase-3 and -8, cytochrome c, Bax and AIF but inhibited the levels of Bcl-xL. CTD promoted ER stress associated protein expression such as GRP78, IRE1α, IRE1β, ATF6α and caspase-4 and it also promoted the expression of calpain 2 and XBP-1, but inhibited calpain 1 that is associated with apoptosis pathways. Based on those observations, we suggest that CTD may be used as a novel anticancer agent for the treatment of lung cancer in the future.

Hui KF, Chiang AK
Combination of proteasome and class I HDAC inhibitors induces apoptosis of NPC cells through an HDAC6-independent ER stress-induced mechanism.
Int J Cancer. 2014; 135(12):2950-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
The current paradigm stipulates that inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) 6 is essential for the combinatorial effect of proteasome and HDAC inhibitors for the treatment of cancers. Our study aims to investigate the effect of combining different class I HDAC inhibitors (without HDAC6 action) with a proteasome inhibitor on apoptosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We found that combination of a proteasome inhibitor, bortezomib, and several class I HDAC inhibitors, including MS-275, apicidin and romidepsin, potently induced killing of NPC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Among the drug pairs, combination of bortezomib and romidepsin (bort/romidepsin) was the most potent and could induce apoptosis at low nanomolar concentrations. The apoptosis of NPC cells was reactive oxygen species (ROS)- and caspase-dependent but was independent of HDAC6 inhibition. Of note, bort/romidepsin might directly suppress the formation of aggresome through the downregulation of c-myc. In addition, two markers of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis, ATF-4 and CHOP/GADD153, were upregulated, whereas a specific inhibitor of caspase-4 (an initiator of ER stress-induced apoptosis) could suppress the apoptosis. When ROS level in the NPC cells was reduced to the untreated level, ER stress-induced caspase activation was abrogated. Collectively, our data demonstrate a model of synergism between proteasome and class I HDAC inhibitors in the induction of ROS-dependent ER stress-induced apoptosis of NPC cells, independent of HDAC6 inhibition, and provide the rationale to combine the more specific and potent class I HDAC inhibitors with proteasome inhibitors for the treatment of cancers.

Shen S, Zhang Y, Wang Z, et al.
Bufalin induces the interplay between apoptosis and autophagy in glioma cells through endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Int J Biol Sci. 2014; 10(2):212-24 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Malignant gliomas are common primary tumors of the central nervous system. The prognosis of patients with malignant glioma is poor in spite of current intensive therapy and thus novel therapeutic modalities are necessary. Bufalin is the major component of Chan-Su (a traditional Chinese medicine) extracts from the venom of Bufo gargarizan. In this study, we evaluated the growth inhibitory effect of bufalin on glioma cells and explored the underlying molecular mechanisms. Our results showed that bufalin inhibited the growth of glioma cells significantly. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that bufalin induced apoptosis through mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In addition, bufalin was also found to induce ER stress-mediated apoptosis, which was supported by the up- regulation of ER stress markers, CHOP and GRP78, and augmented phosphorylation of PERK and eIF2α as well as cleavage of caspase-4. Downregulation of CHOP using siCHOP RNA attenuated bufalin-induced apoptosis, further confirming the role of ER stress response in mediating bufalin-induced apoptosis. Evidence of bufalin-induced autophagy included formation of the acidic vesicular organelles, increase of autophagolysosomes and LC3-II accumulation. Further experiments showed that the mechanism of bufalin-induced autophagy associated with ATP deleption involved an increase in the active form of AMPK, decreased phosphorylation levels of mTOR and its downstream targets 4EBP1 and p70S6K1. Furthermore, TUDC and silencing of eIF2α or CHOP partially blocked bufalin-induced accumulation of LC3-II, which indicated that ER stress preceded bufalin-induced autophagy and PERK/eIF2α/CHOP signaling pathway played a major part in the process. Blockage of autophagy increased expression of ER stress associated proteins and the ratio of apoptosis, indicating that autophagy played a cytoprotective role in bufalin induced ER stress and cell death. In conclusion, bufalin inhibits glioma cell growth and induces interplay between apoptosis and autophagy through endoplasmic reticulum stress. It will provide molecular bases for developing bufalin into a drug candidate for the treatment of maglinant glioma.

Nakajima A, Tsuji M, Inagaki M, et al.
Neuroprotective effects of propofol on ER stress-mediated apoptosis in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2014; 725:47-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Anesthetic treatment has been associated with widespread apoptotic neurodegeneration in the neonatal rodent brain. It has recently been suggested that propofol, a short-acting intravenous anesthetic agent, may have a potential as a neuroprotective agent. An apoptotic pathway mediated through endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been attracting attention. ER stress is associated with accumulation of unfolded or misfolded proteins in ER, and ER stress-induced apoptosis is implicated in a wide range of diseases, including ischemia/reperfusion injury, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. We investigated whether thapsigargin-induced ER stress is prevented by propofol in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. SH-SY5Y cells were pretreated with various concentrations of propofol (1-10 μM) for 3h before co-treatment with 0.5 μM thapsigargin and propofol for 20 h. Levels of ssDNA, specific evidence of apoptosis, and biomarkers of ER stress (mRNA expression of Chop and sXbp-1) were determined. We also assayed calpain and caspase-4 activities and intracellular Ca(2+) ([Ca(2+)]i) levels. Thapsigargin-induced increases in ssDNA levels, expressions of ER stress biomarkers, activities of caspase-4 and calpain, and level of [Ca(2+)]i were suppressed by co-incubation with propofol. Our data indicate the possibility that propofol inhibits the Ca(2+) release from ER at clinically employed dose levels. These results demonstrate that propofol suppresses the ER stress-induced apoptosis in this cell system, and may have the neuroprotective potency. It may also be a promising agent for preventing damage from cerebral ischemia or edema.

Wu LF, Guo YT, Zhang QH, et al.
Enhanced antitumor effects of adenoviral-mediated siRNA against GRP78 gene on adenosine-induced apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells.
Int J Mol Sci. 2014; 15(1):525-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Our previous studies show that adenosine-induced apoptosis is involved in endoplasmic reticulum stress in HepG2 cells. In this study, we have investigated whether knockdown of GRP78 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) increases the cytotoxic effects of adenosine in HepG2 cells. The adenovirus vector-delivered shRNA targeting GRP78 (Ad-shGRP78) was constructed and transfected into HepG2 cells. RT-PCR assay was used to determine RNA interference efficiency. Effects of knockdown of GRP78 on adenosine-induced cell viabilities, cell-cycle distribution and apoptosis, as well as relative protein expressions were determined by flow cytometry and/or Western blot analysis. The intracellular Ca2+ concentration was detected by laser scanning confocal microscope. Mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) was measured by a fluorospectrophotometer. The results revealed that GRP78 mRNA was significantly downregulated by Ad-shGRP78 transfection. Knockdown of GRP78 enhanced HepG2 cell sensitivity to adenosine by modulating G0/G1 arrest and stimulating Bax, Bak, m-calpain, caspase-4 and CHOP protein levels. Knockdown of GRP78 worsened cytosolic Ca2+ overload and ΔΨm loss. Knockdown of caspase-4 by shRNA decreased caspase-3 mRNA expression and cell apoptosis. These findings indicate that GRP 78 plays a protective role in ER stress-induced apoptosis and show that the combination of chemotherapy drug and RNA interference adenoviruses provides a new treatment strategy against malignant tumors.

Chow SE, Kao CH, Liu YT, et al.
Resveratrol induced ER expansion and ER caspase-mediated apoptosis in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.
Apoptosis. 2014; 19(3):527-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response is important for cancer cells to maintain malignancy and resistance to therapy. trans-Resveratrol (RSV), a non-flavonoid agent, has been shown to induce apoptosis in human nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) cells. In this study, the involvements of tumor-specific ER stress and autophagy in the RSV-mediated apoptosis were investigated. In addition to traditional autophagosomes, the images of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) indicated that RSV markedly induced larger, crescent-shaped vacuoles with single-layered membranes whose the expanded cisternae contains multi-lamellar membrane structures. Prolonged exposure to RSV induced a massive accumulation of ER expansion. Using an EGFP-LC3B transfection and confocal laser microscopy approach, we found RSV-induced EGFP-LC3 puncta co-localized with ER-tracker red dye, implicating the involvement of LC3II in ER expansion. The proapoptotic effect of RSV was enhanced after suppression of autophagy by ATG7 siRNA or blocking the autophagic flux by bafilomycin A1, but that was not changed after targeted silence of IRE1 or CHOP by siRNA. Using caspase inhibitors, we demonstrated the upregulation of caspase-12 (casp12) and the activation of casp4 were associated with the proapoptotic induction of RSV through the caspase-9/caspase-3 pathway. Intriguingly, siRNA knockdown of casp12, but not caspase-4, decreased the susceptibility of the NPC cells to RSV-mediated apoptosis. Further, we showed that RSV dose-dependently increased the ceramide accumulation as assessed by LC-MS/MS system. Using serine palmitoyltransferase (SPT, a key enzyme of de novo ceramide biosynthesis) inhibitors (L-cycloserine and myriocin), we found the increased ceramide accumulation was strongly correlated with the proapoptotic potential of RSV. This study revealed the ER expansion and upregulation of ER casp12 together may indicate profound biological effects of RSV and contributed to NPC cell death. Targeting the different status of ER stress may provide a possible strategy for cancer treatments.

Chen Y, Tsai YH, Tseng SH
RECK regulated endoplasmic reticulum stress response and enhanced cisplatin-induced cell death in neuroblastoma cells.
Surgery. 2013; 154(5):968-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Reversion-inducing-cysteine-rich protein with Kazal motifs (RECK) is critical for the invasiveness and metastasis of tumor cells; however, its role in regulating the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response remains unclear. In this study we investigated the protein that interacts with RECK and the effects of RECK overexpression on the ER stress response and on cisplatin-induced cell death in neuroblastoma cells.
METHODS: Full-length RECK (FL-RECK) or a C-terminus-deleted mutant of RECK (del-C-RECK) was transfected into neuroblastoma cells. An immunoprecipitation (IP) assay and liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis were used to identify the RECK-interacting proteins. The interaction between RECK and these proteins was confirmed using co-IP and an immunofluorescence assay. Phosphorylation of double-stranded, RNA-activated protein kinase-like, ER-localized eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF-2α) kinase (PERK) and eIF-2α, and expression of ER stress-related apoptotic factors were studied by Western blot analysis.
RESULTS: Glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) was identified as the RECK-interacting protein in neuroblastoma cells, and the C-terminus region of the RECK protein was shown to interact with GRP78. Overexpression of FL-RECK, but not of del-C-RECK, increased the phosphorylation of PERK and eIF-2α in neuroblastoma cells. With cisplatin treatment, the expression of phosphorylated PERK and eIF-2α, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-homologous protein, Bax, and caspase-4 and -7 was higher and the cell viability was lower (P < .01) in FL-RECK-overexpressing cells than in del-C-RECK-overexpressing or vector control cells.
CONCLUSION: RECK regulated the cellular ER stress response through interaction with GRP78 and enhanced cisplatin-induced cell death in neuroblastoma cells.

Fan LM, Su J, Dong H, et al.
[Inhibition of GRP78 expression reverses cisplatin resistance in human ovarian cancer].
Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2013; 93(17):1341-4 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To explore the effects of GRP78 suppression on the sensitivity to cisplatin and elucidate the role and mechanism of GRP78 in ovarian cancer cisplatin resistance.
METHODS: The GRP78 siRNA expression plasmid was constructed to suppress GRP78 expression. Cell viability was detected by methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium (MTT) assay. Endoplasmic reticulum stress-related apoptosis related protein expressions were detected by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Western blot. And cell apoptosis was detected by flow cytometry.
RESULTS: The expressions of GRP78, CHOP and cleaved-caspase 4 were induced significantly by cisplatin (6 mg/L) in SKOV3 cells. And the expression of GRP78 was induced significantly by cisplatin in SKOV3/DDP cells. But the expressions of CHOP and cleaved-caspase 4 showed no significant difference. Inhibition of GRP78 expression and cisplatin combined treatment significantly increased the expressions of cleaved-caspase 4 and cleaved-caspase 3 in SKOV3/DDP cells. Inhibition of GRP78 expression reduced the cisplatin-induced up-regulations of p-Akt and p-mTOR and induced XBP1 mRNA shear expression and CHOP mRNA expression.
CONCLUSION: Inhibition of GRP78 expression reverses cisplatin resistance in SKOV3/DDP cells. The mechanism may be through the activity of Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, CHOP expression levels and caspase activity.

Vaeteewoottacharn K, Kariya R, Matsuda K, et al.
Perturbation of proteasome function by bortezomib leading to ER stress-induced apoptotic cell death in cholangiocarcinoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2013; 139(9):1551-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) or cancer of the biliary tract is heterogeneous; however, chronic inflammatory-related features are unique in CCA. Moreover, the genes involved in proteasome functions are evidently increased in CCA. Hence, CCA might be vulnerable to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stressors, particularly a proteasome inhibitor. Therefore, bortezomib (BTZ), a specific 26S proteasome inhibitor, was selected, and its antitumor effects against CCA were investigated.
METHODS: Liver fluke-associated CCA cell lines were used. Cell proliferation and apoptosis detection were determined by a tetrazolium-based assay, caspase detection and annexin V binding assay. The accumulations of proteasome substrates, the inductions of ER stress and unfolded protein response (UPR) proteins were demonstrated by western blot and reporter systems. The in vivo anti-proliferative effect was accessed in a subcutaneous transplantation mouse model.
RESULTS: BTZ inhibited CCA proliferation and induced caspase-dependent apoptosis, independently of the NF-κB pathway. Inhibition of protein degradation by BTZ led to the induction of UPR; induction of XBP1 splicing, ATF6 proteolysis and nuclear ATF4 as well as BiP and CHOP expressions were evident. Nevertheless, ER stress-induced UPR was overwhelming, leading to the activation of apoptosis demonstrated by proteolytic cleavages of ER-related caspase 4 and 12 as well as classical caspase 8, 9 and 3. The growth inhibitory effect of BTZ was supported by an in vivo model.
CONCLUSION: BTZ treatment could be a promising therapeutic approach for CCA treatment.

Carew JS, Espitia CM, Zhao W, et al.
Reolysin is a novel reovirus-based agent that induces endoplasmic reticular stress-mediated apoptosis in pancreatic cancer.
Cell Death Dis. 2013; 4:e728 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Activating mutation of KRas is a genetic alteration that occurs in the majority of pancreatic tumors and is therefore an ideal therapeutic target. The ability of reoviruses to preferentially replicate and induce cell death in transformed cells that express activated Ras prompted the development of a reovirus-based formulation for cancer therapy called Reolysin. We hypothesized that Reolysin exposure would trigger heavy production of viral products leading to endoplasmic reticular (ER) stress-mediated apoptosis. Here, we report that Reolysin treatment stimulated selective reovirus replication and decreased cell viability in KRas-transformed immortalized human pancreatic duct epithelial cells and pancreatic cancer cell lines. These effects were associated with increased expression of ER stress-related genes, ER swelling, cleavage of caspase-4, and splicing of XBP-1. Treatment with ER stress stimuli including tunicamycin, brefeldin A, and bortezomib (BZ) augmented the anticancer activity of Reolysin. Cotreatment with BZ and Reolysin induced the simultaneous accumulation of ubiquitinated and viral proteins, resulting in enhanced levels of ER stress and apoptosis in both in vitro and in vivo models of pancreatic cancer. Our collective results demonstrate that the abnormal protein accumulation induced by the combination of Reolysin and BZ promotes heightened ER stress and apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells and provides the rationale for a phase I clinical trial further investigating the safety and efficacy of this novel strategy.

Nagpal N, Ahmad HM, Molparia B, Kulshreshtha R
MicroRNA-191, an estrogen-responsive microRNA, functions as an oncogenic regulator in human breast cancer.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(8):1889-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen- and microRNA-mediated gene regulation play a crucial role in breast cancer biology. However, a functional link between the two major players remains unclear. This study reveals miR-191 as an estrogen-inducible onco-miR in breast cancer, which promotes several hallmarks of cancer including enhanced cell proliferation, migration, chemoresistance and survival in tumor microenvironment. miR-191 is a direct estrogen receptor (ER) target and our results suggest existence of a positive regulatory feedback loop. We show miR-191 as critical mediator of estrogen-mediated cell proliferation. Investigations of mechanistic details of miR-191 functions identify several cancer-related genes like BDNF, CDK6 and SATB1 as miR-191 targets. miR-191 and SATB1 show inverse correlation of expression. miR-191-mediated enhanced cell proliferation and migration are partly dependent on targeted downregulation of SATB1. Further, functional validation of estrogen:miR-191:SATB1 link suggests a cascade initiated by estrogen that induces miR-191 in ER-dependent manner to target SATB1, a global chromatin remodeler, thereby contributing to estrogen-specific gene signature to regulate genes like ANXA1, PIWIL2, CASP4, ESR1/ESR2, PLAC1 and SOCS2 involved in breast cancer progression and migration. Overall, the identification of estrogen/ER/miR-191/SATB1 cascade seems to be a significant pathway in estrogen signaling in breast cancer with miR-191 as oncogenic player.

Mahoney E, Byrd JC, Johnson AJ
Autophagy and ER stress play an essential role in the mechanism of action and drug resistance of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol.
Autophagy. 2013; 9(3):434-5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a mature B cell malignancy and is the most prevalent type of leukemia in adults. There is no curative therapy for this disease; however, several new agents have shown very promising results. Autophagy has not been studied in CLL and in this study we first sought to determine if autophagy was functional in CLL with classic inducers, and if this contributes to direct cytotoxicity or protection from cell death. While autophagy is activated with all classic stimuli of this process, only unfolded protein endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated autophagy protects from cell death. Interestingly, select therapeutic agents (fludarabine, GS-1101, flavopiridol), which are active in CLL, also induce autophagy. Of interest, only the broad cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor flavopiridol has improved efficacy when autophagy is antagonized biochemically (chloroquine) or by siRNA. This promoted an investigation which demonstrated unexpectedly that flavopiridol mediates ER stress and downstream activation of MAP3K5/ASK1, which ultimately is responsible for cell death. Similarly, autophagy activated in part via ER stress and also CDK5 inhibition is protective against cell death induced by this process. Collectively, our studies demonstrate that in CLL, autophagy is induced by multiple stimuli but only acts as a mechanism of resistance against ER stress-mediating agents. Similarly, flavopiridol mediates ER stress as a primary mechanism of action in CLL, and autophagy serves as a mechanism of resistance to this agent.

Hu Y, Liu HX, He Y, et al.
Transcriptome profiling and genome-wide DNA binding define the differential role of fenretinide and all-trans RA in regulating the death and survival of human hepatocellular carcinoma Huh7 cells.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2013; 85(7):1007-17 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Fenretinide is significantly more effective in inducing apoptosis in cancer cells than all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). The current study uses a genome-wide approach to understand the differential role fenretinide and ATRA have in inducing apoptosis in Huh7 cells. Fenretinide and ATRA-induced gene expressions and DNA bindings were profiled using microarray and chromatin immunoprecipitation with anti-RXRα antibody. The data showed that fenretinide was not a strong transcription regulator. Fenretinide only changed the expressions of 1 093 genes, approximately three times less than the number of genes regulated by ATRA (2 811). Biological function annotation demonstrated that both fenretinide and ATRA participated in pathways that determine cell fate and metabolic processes. However, fenretinide specifically induced Fas/TNFα-mediated apoptosis by increasing the expression of pro-apoptotic genes i.e., DEDD2, CASP8, CASP4, and HSPA1A/B; whereas, ATRA induced the expression of BIRC3 and TNFAIP3, which inhibit apoptosis by interacting with TRAF2. In addition, fenretinide inhibited the expression of the genes involved in RAS/RAF/ERK-mediated survival pathway. In contrast, ATRA increased the expression of SOSC2, BRAF, MEK, and ERK genes. Most genes regulated by fenretinide and ATRA were bound by RXRα, suggesting a direct effect. This study revealed that by regulating fewer genes, the effects of fenretinide become more specific and thus has fewer side effects than ATRA. The data also suggested that fenretinide induces apoptosis via death receptor effector and by inhibiting the RAS/RAF/ERK pathway. It provides insight on how retinoid efficacy can be improved and how side effects in cancer therapy can be reduced.

White MC, Johnson GG, Zhang W, et al.
Sulindac sulfide inhibits sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase, induces endoplasmic reticulum stress response, and exerts toxicity in glioma cells: relevant similarities to and important differences from celecoxib.
J Neurosci Res. 2013; 91(3):393-406 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Malignant gliomas have low survival expectations regardless of current treatments. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) prevent cell transformation and slow cancer cell growth by mechanisms independent of cyclooxygenase (COX) inhibition. Certain NSAIDs trigger the endoplasmic reticulum stress response (ERSR), as revealed by upregulation of molecular chaperones such as GRP78 and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP). Although celecoxib (CELE) inhibits the sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase (SERCA), an effect known to induce ERSR, sulindac sulfide (SS) has not been reported to affect SERCA. Here, we investigated these two drugs for their effects on Ca(2+) homeostasis, ERSR, and glioma cell survival. Our findings indicate that SS is a reversible inhibitor of SERCA and that both SS and CELE bind SERCA at its cyclopiazonic acid binding site. Furthermore, CELE releases additional Ca(2+) from the mitochondria. In glioma cells, both NSAIDS upregulate GRP78 and activate ER-associated caspase-4 and caspase-3. Although only CELE upregulates the expression of CHOP, it appears that CHOP induction could be associated with mitochondrial poisoning. In addition, CHOP induction appears to be uncorrelated with the gliotoxicity of these NSAIDS in our experiments. Our data suggest that activation of ERSR is primarily responsible for the gliotoxic effect of these NSAIDS. Because SS has good brain bioavailability, has lower COX-2 inhibition, and has no mitochondrial effects, it represents a more appealing molecular candidate than CELE to achieve gliotoxicity via activation of ERSR.

Liu CY, Yang JS, Huang SM, et al.
Smh-3 induces G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis through calcium‑mediated endoplasmic reticulum stress and mitochondrial signaling in human hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 29(2):751-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
In the present study, we investigated the antitumor effects of Smh-3 on the viability, cell cycle and apoptotic cell death in human hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells in vitro. We also investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in the effects of Smh-3 on human hepatoma Hep3B cells, including the effects on protein and mRNA levels which were determined by western blotting and DNA microarray methods, respectively. The results demonstrated that Smh-3 induced growth inhibition, cell morphological changes and induction of G(2)/M arrest and apoptosis in Hep3B cells. DNA microarray assay identified numerous differentially expressed genes related to angiogenesis, autophagy, calcium-mediated ER stress signaling, cell adhesion, cell cycle and mitosis, cell migration, cytoskeleton organization, DNA damage and repair, mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis and cell signaling pathways. Furthermore, Smh-3 inhibited CDK1 activity, mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and increased the cytosolic Ca(2+) release and caspase-4, caspase-9 and caspase-3 activities in Hep3B cells. Western blot analysis demonstrated that Smh-3 increased the protein levels of caspase-4 and GADD153 that may lead to ER stress and consequently apoptosis in Hep3B cells. Taken together, Smh-3 acts against human hepatocellular carcinoma Hep3B cells in vitro through G(2)/M phase arrest and induction of calcium-mediated ER stress and mitochondrial-dependent apoptotic signaling pathways.

Murai M, Inoue T, Suzuki-Karasaki M, et al.
Diallyl trisulfide sensitizes human melanoma cells to TRAIL-induced cell death by promoting endoplasmic reticulum-mediated apoptosis.
Int J Oncol. 2012; 41(6):2029-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is promising for cancer treatment because of its selective cytotoxicity toward tumor cells. However, some cancer cell types including malignant melanoma cells are resistant to TRAIL cytotoxicity. Here, we show that diallyl trisulfide (DATS), a garlic organosulfur compound, sensitizes melanoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis while sparing normal cells. DATS also potentiates apoptosis induced by agonistic antibodies against death receptors (DR) 4 and DR5. The amplification of DR-mediated apoptosis was associated with increased mitochondrial membrane potential collapse and caspase-3/7 activation. However, these events were not sufficient for full sensitization. TRAIL also induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, as indicated by the activation of X-box-binding protein 1 and caspase-12 and DATS poten-tiated both events. Moreover, inhibition of caspase-12, but not caspase-4, abolished the amplification of apoptosis, indicating that ER stress plays a crucial role. On the other hand, DATS and/or TRAIL induced minimal apoptosis and caspase-12 activation in melanocytes despite their substantial expression of DR4 and DR5 on the cell surface. Our data suggest that DATS amplifies death ligand-induced melanoma cell death by disrupting their adaptation to ER-mediated death pathway. The present findings raise the possibility that DATS may be combined with death ligands to treat TRAIL-resistance melanoma cells without impairing its tumor selectivity.

Maddalo D, Neeb A, Jehle K, et al.
A peptidic unconjugated GRP78/BiP ligand modulates the unfolded protein response and induces prostate cancer cell death.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(10):e45690 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
The molecular chaperone GRP78/BiP is a key regulator of protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum, and it plays a pivotal role in cancer cell survival and chemoresistance. Inhibition of its function has therefore been an important strategy for inhibiting tumor cell growth in cancer therapy. Previous efforts to achieve this goal have used peptides that bind to GRP78/BiP conjugated to pro-drugs or cell-death-inducing sequences. Here, we describe a peptide that induces prostate tumor cell death without the need of any conjugating sequences. This peptide is a sequence derived from the cochaperone Bag-1. We have shown that this sequence interacts with and inhibits the refolding activity of GRP78/BiP. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that it modulates the unfolded protein response in ER stress resulting in PARP and caspase-4 cleavage. Prostate cancer cells stably expressing this peptide showed reduced growth and increased apoptosis in in vivo xenograft tumor models. Amino acid substitutions that destroyed binding of the Bag-1 peptide to GRP78/BiP or downregulation of the expression of GRP78 compromised the inhibitory effect of this peptide. This sequence therefore represents a candidate lead peptide for anti-tumor therapy.

Nilsson O
Profiling of ileal carcinoids.
Neuroendocrinology. 2013; 97(1):7-18 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Identification of common molecular mechanisms is needed to facilitate the development of new treatment options for patients with ileal carcinoids.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent profiling studies on ileal carcinoids were examined to obtain a comprehensive view of risk factors, genetic aberrations, and transcriptional alterations. Special attention was paid to mechanisms that could provide novel targets for therapy.
RESULTS: Genome-wide association studies have shown that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at IL12A and DAD1 are associated with an increased risk of ileal carcinoids. Genomic profiling revealed distinct patterns of copy-number alterations in ileal carcinoids. Two groups of carcinoids could be identified by hierarchical clustering. A major group of tumors was characterized by loss on chromosome 18 followed by additional losses on chromosomes 3p, 11q, and 13. Three minimal common regions of deletions were identified at 18q21.1-q21.31, 18q22.1-q22.2, and 18q22.3-q23. A minor group of tumors was characterized by clustered gains on chromosomes 4, 5, 7, 14, and 20. Expression profiling identified three groups of ileal carcinoids by principal component analysis. Tumor progression was associated with changes in gene expression including downregulation of MIR133A. Candidate genes for targeted therapy included ERBB2/HER2, DAD1, PRKCA, RYBP, CASP1, CASP4, CASP5, VMAT1, RET, APLP1, OR51E1, GPR112, SPOCK1, RUNX1, and MIR133A.
CONCLUSION: Profiling of ileal carcinoids has revealed recurrent genetic alterations and distinct patterns of gene expression. Frequent alterations in cellular pathways and genes were identified, suggesting novel targets for therapy. Translational studies are needed to validate suggested molecular targets.

Doudican NA, Wen SY, Mazumder A, Orlow SJ
Sulforaphane synergistically enhances the cytotoxicity of arsenic trioxide in multiple myeloma cells via stress-mediated pathways.
Oncol Rep. 2012; 28(5):1851-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Persistent paraprotein production in plasma cells necessitates a highly developed rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER) that is unusually susceptible to perturbations in protein synthesis. This biology is believed to account for the exquisite sensitivity of multiple myeloma (MM) to the proteasomal inhibitor bortezomib (BTZ). Despite remarkable response rates to BTZ in MM, BTZ carries the potential for serious side-effects and development of resistance. We, therefore, sought to identify therapeutic combinations that effectively disrupt proteostasis in order to provide new potential treatments for MM. We found that sulforaphane, a dietary isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, inhibits TNFα-induced Iκβ proteasomal degradation in a manner similar to BTZ. Like BTZ, sulforaphane synergistically enhances the cytotoxicity of arsenic trioxide (ATO), an agent with clinical activity in MM. ATO and sulforaphane co-treatment augmented apoptotic induction as demonstrated by cleavage of caspase-3, -4 and PARP. The enhanced apoptotic response was dependent upon production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as demonstrated by glutathione depletion and partial inhibition of the apoptotic cascade after pretreatment with the radical scavenger N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Combination treatment resulted in enhanced ER stress signaling and activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), indicative of perturbation of proteostasis. Specifically, combination treatment caused elevated expression of the molecular chaperone HSP90 (heat shock protein 90) along with increased PERK (protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase) and eIF2α phosphorylation and XBP1 (X-box binding protein 1) splicing, key indicators of UPR activation. Moreover, increased splicing of XBP1 was apparent upon combination treatment compared to treatment with either agent alone. Sulforaphane in combination with ATO effectively disrupts protein homeostasis through ROS generation and induction of ER stress to culminate in inhibition of protein secretion and apoptotic induction in MM. Our results suggest that sulforaphane deserves further investigation in combination with ATO in the treatment of MM.

Fasano E, Serini S, Piccioni E, et al.
DHA induces apoptosis by altering the expression and cellular location of GRP78 in colon cancer cell lines.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012; 1822(11):1762-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids exert growth-inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects in colon cancer cells. We hypothesized that the anti-apoptotic glucose related protein of 78kDa (GRP78), originally described as a component of the unfolded protein response in endoplasmic reticulum (ER), could be a molecular target for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in these cells. GRP78 total and surface overexpression was previously associated with a poor prognosis in several cancers, whereas its down-regulation with decreased cancer growth in animal models. DHA treatment induced apoptosis in three colon cancer cell lines (HT-29, HCT116 and SW480), and inhibited their total and surface GRP78 expression. The cell ability to undergo DHA-induced apoptosis was inversely related to their level of GRP78 expression. The transfection of the low GRP78-expressing SW480 cells with GRP78-GFP cDNA significantly induced cell growth and inhibited the DHA-driven apoptosis, thus supporting the essential role of GRP78 in DHA pro-apoptotic effect. We suggest that pERK1/2 could be the first upstream target for DHA, and demonstrate that, downstream of GRP78, DHA may exert its proapoptotic role by augmenting the expression of the ER resident factors ERdj5 and inhibiting the phosphorylation of PKR-like ER kinase (PERK), known to be both physically associated with GRP78, and by activating caspase-4. Overall, the regulation of cellular GRP78 expression and location is suggested as a possible route through which DHA can exert pro-apoptotic and antitumoral effects in colon cancer cells.

Wu LF, Wei BL, Guo YT, et al.
Apoptosis induced by adenosine involves endoplasmic reticulum stress in EC109 cells.
Int J Mol Med. 2012; 30(4):797-804 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apoptosis plays a critical role in the development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms, and endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) is one of the intrinsic apoptosis pathways. Previous studies have shown that adenosine induces apoptosis in several cancer cell lines. However, the molecular mechanism remains poorly understood. In this study, we explored whether adenosine triggers apoptosis of EC109 esophageal carcinoma (EC) cells by ERS. The MTT assay was used to determine cell proliferation; cell cycle detection (FCM) and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay were performed to determine cell apoptosis. The subcellular distribution and expression of the ERS-related proteins GRP78, cleaved caspase-3, cleaved caspase-4, CHOP and NF-κB p65 were detected by western blot techniques. NF-κB activation was measured by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). The MTT assay demonstrated that adenosine inhibited EC109 cell proliferation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. FCM and TUNEL assay verified that adenosine caused an apoptotic peak in cell cycle arrest and a higher percentage of apoptotic cells. Western blot analysis confirmed that the expression of GRP78, cleaved caspase-4, CHOP, NF-κB p65 and cleaved caspase-3 were upregulated in a dose-dependent manner after adenosine treatment. EMSA revealed that adenosine activated NF-κB p65. This is the first demonstration that adenosine inhibits cell proliferation, increases GRP78 and NF-κB p65 expression and induces apoptosis by CHOP and caspase-4 pathways. The ERS pathway is involved in adenosine-induced apoptosis in EC109 cells.

Yu JS, Kim AK
Platycodin D induces reactive oxygen species-mediated apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 activation and endoplasmic reticulum stress response in human breast cancer cells.
J Med Food. 2012; 15(8):691-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Platycodin D (PD), a natural compound found in Platycodon grandiflorum, induces apoptotic cell death in various carcinoma cells. One mechanism of PD-mediated cell death is by activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases, as suggested in a recent report. In this study, we further examined upstream signal pathways and the relationship between these signals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Using immunoblotting assays, we found that PD activated apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) through phosphorylation of ASK1 at threonine and dephosphorylation of ASK1 at serine. We also showed that PD caused activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. This was supported by observations showing that treatment with PD induces phosphorylation of PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) and eukaryotic initiation factor 2 α (eIF 2α), up-regulating expression of glucose-regulated protein 78/immunoglobulin heavy chain binding protein (GRP78/Bip) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein/growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible gene 153 (CHOP/GADD153) and activation of caspase-4. Furthermore, PD-induced ASK1 and ER stress responses were inhibited by the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine. These results suggest that ROS play a critical role for activation of ASK1 and ER stress in PD-treated cancer cells.

Zhong J, Kong X, Zhang H, et al.
Inhibition of CLIC4 enhances autophagy and triggers mitochondrial and ER stress-induced apoptosis in human glioma U251 cells under starvation.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(6):e39378 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
CLIC4/mtCLIC, a chloride intracellular channel protein, localizes to mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum (ER), nucleus and cytoplasm, and participates in the apoptotic response to stress. Apoptosis and autophagy, the main types of the programmed cell death, seem interconnected under certain stress conditions. However, the role of CLIC4 in autophagy regulation has yet to be determined. In this study, we demonstrate upregulation and nuclear translocation of the CLIC4 protein following starvation in U251 cells. CLIC4 siRNA transfection enhanced autophagy with increased LC3-II protein and puncta accumulation in U251 cells under starvation conditions. In that condition, the interaction of the 14-3-3 epsilon isoform with CLIC4 was abolished and resulted in Beclin 1 overactivation, which further activated autophagy. Moreover, inhibiting the expression of CLIC4 triggered both mitochondrial apoptosis involved in Bax/Bcl-2 and cytochrome c release under starvation and endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis with CHOP and caspase-4 upregulation. These results demonstrate that CLIC4 nuclear translocation is an integral part of the cellular response to starvation. Inhibiting the expression of CLIC4 enhances autophagy and contributes to mitochondrial and ER stress-induced apoptosis under starvation.

Huang X, Li L, Zhang L, et al.
Crosstalk between endoplasmic reticulum stress and oxidative stress in apoptosis induced by α-tocopheryl succinate in human gastric carcinoma cells.
Br J Nutr. 2013; 109(4):727-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
α-Tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS) has been shown to be a potent apoptosis inducer and growth inhibitor in a variety of cancer cells. Our previous studies showed the important role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in the apoptosis induced by α-TOS. However, the relationship of oxidative stress with ER stress is still controversial. The objective of the present study was to investigate the interplay between the two stress responses induced by α-TOS in SGC-7901 human gastric cancer cells. In response to α-TOS, cytological changes typical of apoptosis, induction of glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) homologous protein transcription factor (CHOP), and activation of caspase-4 were observed. And the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine inhibited induction of both GRP78 and CHOP by α-TOS transcriptionally and translationally. Furthermore, knocking down CHOP by RNA interference decreased ROS generation, increased glutathione level and induced glutathione peroxidase mRNA expression in α-TOS-treated cells, whereas catalase and superoxide dismutases mRNA expression were not altered. The results imply that α-TOS induces ER stress response through ROS production, while CHOP perturbs the redox state of SGC-7901 cells treated with α-TOS.

Wang HC, Hsieh SC, Yang JH, et al.
Diallyl trisulfide induces apoptosis of human basal cell carcinoma cells via endoplasmic reticulum stress and the mitochondrial pathway.
Nutr Cancer. 2012; 64(5):770-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Diallyl trisulfide (DATS), an active component of garlic oil, has attracted much attention because of its anticancer effect on several types of cancers. However, the mechanism of DATS-induced apoptosis of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is not fully understood. In the present study, we revealed that DATS-mediated dose-dependent induction of apoptosis in BCC cells was associated with intracellular reactive oxygen species accumulation and disrupted mitochondrial membrane potential. Western analysis demonstrated concordant expression of molecules involved in mitochondrial apoptosis, including DATS-associated increases in phospho-p53, proapoptotic Bax, and decreases in antiapoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl in BCC cells. Moreover, DATS induced the release of cytochrome c, apoptosis-inducing factor, and HtrA2/Omi into the cytoplasm, and activated factors downstream of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptosis, including nuclear translocation of apoptotic-inducing factor and endonuclease G and the caspase cascade. These results were confirmed by pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine and the caspase inhibitor (z-VAD-fmk), the latter of which did not completely enhance the viability of DATS-treated BBC cells. Exposure to DATS additionally induced endogenous endoplasmic reticulum stress markers and intracellular Ca2⁺ mobilization, upregulation of Bip/GRP78 and CHOP/GADD153, and activation of caspase-4. Our findings suggest that DATS exerts chemopreventive potential via ER stress and the mitochondrial pathway in BCC cells.

Huang KH, Kuo KL, Chen SC, et al.
Down-regulation of glucose-regulated protein (GRP) 78 potentiates cytotoxic effect of celecoxib in human urothelial carcinoma cells.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(3):e33615 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/12/2015 Related Publications
Celecoxib is a selective cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitor that has been reported to elicit anti-proliferative response in various tumors. In this study, we aim to investigate the antitumor effect of celecoxib on urothelial carcinoma (UC) cells and the role endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress plays in celecoxib-induced cytotoxicity. The cytotoxic effects were measured by MTT assay and flow cytometry. The cell cycle progression and ER stress-associated molecules were examined by Western blot and flow cytometry. Moreover, the cytotoxic effects of celecoxib combined with glucose-regulated protein (GRP) 78 knockdown (siRNA), (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) or MG132 were assessed. We demonstrated that celecoxib markedly reduces the cell viability and causes apoptosis in human UC cells through cell cycle G1 arrest. Celecoxib possessed the ability to activate ER stress-related chaperones (IRE-1α and GRP78), caspase-4, and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP), which were involved in UC cell apoptosis. Down-regulation of GRP78 by siRNA, co-treatment with EGCG (a GRP78 inhibitor) or with MG132 (a proteasome inhibitor) could enhance celecoxib-induced apoptosis. We concluded that celecoxib induces cell cycle G1 arrest, ER stress, and eventually apoptosis in human UC cells. The down-regulation of ER chaperone GRP78 by siRNA, EGCG, or proteosome inhibitor potentiated the cytotoxicity of celecoxib in UC cells. These findings provide a new treatment strategy against UC.

Peng X, Tan G
[Differential expression of taxol resistance and taxol resistance reversal related genes in nasopharyngeal carcinoma by cDNA microarray].
Zhong Nan Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 2012; 37(1):48-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To compare the difference in gene expression profiles between parental cell line and drug resistant cell line (CNE-1 and CNE-1/taxol) pre-treated or treated by drugs, and search for genes related to taxol resistance and reversal of taxol resistance phenotype.
METHODS: cDNA microarray was used to detect the difference in gene expression profiles between 6 groups of cells. Combination of multiple filtering genes and detailed analysis of documented resistance genes were used to analyze the data.
RESULTS: Through multiple filtering, 297 differentially expressed genes were screened. The expression of 17 genes was increased or decreased more than 5 folds in CNE-1/taxol compared with CNE-1.Through analyzing documented drug-resistant genes, MDR1 expression was not detected in each group. CYP1A1, one of P450 family members, was not expressed in CNE-1, but significantly increased expressions was found in CNE-1/taxol and these increased expressions were restored by cisplatin. The expression level of some members of tumor necrosis factor family was decreased in CNE-1/taxol and restored by cisplatin, including TNFAIP1, 3 and TNFRSF12A, 21. The differentially expressed members in the caspase family were caspase-4 and caspase-6. The expression of β-tubulin II was down-regulated in CNE-1/taxol. TSP1 was obviously down-regulated in CNE- 1/taxol compared with CNE-1, and a more significant down-regulation of TSP1 was found when treated by taxol. However, it was greatly up-regulated after cisplatin treatment in CNE-1/taxol.
CONCLUSION: Some genes are probably related to taxol resistance and reversal of taxol resistance in NPC cells: 297 differentially expressed genes detected by multiple filing, CYP1A1, some members of TNF family and another 17 genes whose differential expression is more than 5 folds between parental cell line and drug resistant cell line. Combination of multiple filtering genes and detailed analysis of documented resistance genes is a good method to study drug resistance and reversal of drug resistance in carcinoma cells.

Mhaidat NM, Abdul-Razzak KK, Alkofahi AS, et al.
Altholactone induces apoptotic cell death in human colorectal cancer cells.
Phytother Res. 2012; 26(6):926-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Resistance of colorectal cancer (CRC) to the available chemotherapy reveals the demand for identification of new anticancer agents. We evaluated the antitumour potential of altholactone, a naturally occurring bioactive compound isolated from Goniothalamus spp. (Annonaceae) hooks, against CRC cells. Antitumour activity of altholactone was measured using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay and the propidium iodide method. Apoptosis mediators involved were assessed using biochemical inhibitors and Western blotting analysis. Results revealed that altholactone induced varying degrees of apoptosis in CRC cells but not in normal fibroblasts. Dissection of the altholactone-induced apoptotic signalling pathway revealed that altholactone activated caspase-dependent and -independent apoptotic pathways. Activation of caspase-4 appeared to be the initiating event in the caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway. Pre-treatment of CRC cells with the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) significantly inhibited activation of caspase-4 and altholactone-induced apoptosis. These results indicate that altholactone induces selective cytotoxicity against colon carcinoma cells and warrants further clinical evaluation.

Gajate C, Matos-da-Silva M, Dakir el-H, et al.
Antitumor alkyl-lysophospholipid analog edelfosine induces apoptosis in pancreatic cancer by targeting endoplasmic reticulum.
Oncogene. 2012; 31(21):2627-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer remains as one of the most deadly cancers, and responds poorly to current therapies. The prognosis is extremely poor, with a 5-year survival of less than 5%. Therefore, search for new effective therapeutic drugs is of pivotal need and urgency to improve treatment of this incurable malignancy. Synthetic alkyl-lysophospholipid analogs (ALPs) constitute a heterogeneous group of unnatural lipids that promote apoptosis in a wide variety of tumor cells. In this study, we found that the anticancer drug edelfosine was the most potent ALP in killing human pancreatic cancer cells, targeting endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Edelfosine was taken up in significant amounts by pancreatic cancer cells and induced caspase- and mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis. Pancreatic cancer cells show a prominent ER and edelfosine accumulated in this subcellular structure, inducing a potent ER stress response, with caspase-4, BAP31 and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, CHOP/GADD153 upregulation and phosphorylation of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2 α-subunit that eventually led to cell death. Oral administration of edelfosine in xenograft mouse models of pancreatic cancer induced a significant regression in tumor growth and an increase in apoptotic index, as assessed by TUNEL assay and caspase-3 activation in the tumor sections. The ER stress-associated marker CHOP/GADD153 was visualized in the pancreatic tumor isolated from edelfosine-treated mice, indicating a strong in vivo ER stress response. These results suggest that edelfosine exerts its pro-apoptotic action in pancreatic cancer cells, both in vitro and in vivo, through its accumulation in the ER, which leads to ER stress and apoptosis. Thus, we propose that the ER could be a key target in pancreatic cancer, and edelfosine may constitute a prototype for the development of a new class of antitumor drugs targeting the ER.

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