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Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Feb;5(2):180-8. Epub 2006 Feb 15.

Adenovirus E1A reverses the resistance of normal primary human lung fibroblast cells to TRAIL through DR5 upregulation and caspase 8-dependent pathway.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Virology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei Province, P. R. China.


Expression of the adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) E1A enhances tumor cells to apoptosis by TNF-alpha, Fas-ligand and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). In this study, we found that E1A expression reversed the resistance of normal primary human lung fibroblast cells (P-HLF) to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, TRAIL dramatically induced apoptosis of P-HLF cells that expressed E1A following either infection with Ad-E1A or transfection with pcDNA3-E1A. Further results demonstrated that E1A specifically upregulated DR5 levels but had nearly no effect on the levels of DR4. E1A dramatically upregulated the exogenous TRAIL, and then increased a substantial amount of TRAIL on the surface of P-HLF cells treated with the expression vectors, both Ad-TRAIL and pIRES-EGFP-TRAIL. The dominant negative FADD mutation (FADD-DN) results revealed that the apoptosis in Ad-E1A and Ad-TRAIL coinfected P-HLF cells was completely blocked following inhibition of the death receptors-associated apoptosis-inducing molecules FADD. Moreover, the caspase 8 inhibitor (Z-IETD-FMK) could efficiently block caspase 8 activation and resulted in inhibition of caspase 3 activation and cleavage. However, The caspase 9 specific inhibitor (Z-LEHD-FMK) could not counteract the synergistic effect of TRAIL-induced apoptosis in combination with E1A, and caspase 3 activation and cleavage were not inhibited by Z-LEHD-FMK. Thus, our results suggest that adenovirus E1A sensitizes P-HLF cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis involving DR5 upregulation and the caspase 8-dependent pathway. These findings provide the first direct evidence for molecular mechanisms of adenovirus E1A gene products to sensitize normal cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis.

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