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Cancer Res. 2002 Feb 1;62(3):924-31.

Dysfunctional apoptosome activation in ovarian cancer: implications for chemoresistance.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan Medical School, L4000 Women's Hospital, 1500 East Medical Center Drive, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA. rliu@umich.edu

Abstract

Alterations in the regulation of apoptosis may contribute to the pathogenesis of cancer and resistance of tumor cells to chemotherapy. In mammalian cells, nonreceptor-mediated apoptosis occurs predominantly via assembly of a cytochrome c-dependent apoptosome complex containing caspase-9 and apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 (Apaf-1). We show here that cytosolic extracts from human ovarian carcinoma cell lines and primary ovarian tumor samples are deficient in their ability to activate procaspase-9 in the presence of cytochrome c and dATP when compared with control extracts. SKOV3, a human ovarian carcinoma cell line with diminished apoptosome activity, was significantly more resistant to chemotherapy-induced apoptosis than cell lines with functional Apaf-1 activity. This dysfunctional apoptosome activity was not explained by reduced expression levels of caspase-9 or Apaf-1. Moreover, expression levels of known inhibitors of the apoptosome, including heat shock protein 70, heat shock protein 90, or X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis, did not correlate with functional activity of the apoptosome. SKOV3, an ovarian cancer cell line with dysfunctional apoptosome activity, retains the ability to form the Apaf-1 oligomer; however, there is a diminished amount of caspase-9 in the apoptosome. The reduction in the amount of caspase-9 in the apoptosome in the SKOV3 cell line was associated with diminished caspase-3 activity. Dysfunctional apoptosome activation may contribute both to the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma and to chemoresistance.

PMID:
11830553
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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