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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Apr;5(4):612-20. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0548. Epub 2012 Feb 16.

The novel Akt inhibitor API-1 induces c-FLIP degradation and synergizes with TRAIL to augment apoptosis independent of Akt inhibition.

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  • 1Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30322, USA.


API-1 (pyrido[2,3-d]pyrimidines) is a novel small-molecule inhibitor of Akt, which acts by binding to Akt and preventing its membrane translocation and has promising preclinical antitumor activity. In this study, we reveal a novel function of API-1 in regulation of cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP) levels and TRAIL-induced apoptosis, independent of Akt inhibition. API-1 effectively induced apoptosis in tested cancer cell lines including activation of caspase-8 and caspase-9. It reduced the levels of c-FLIP without increasing the expression of death receptor 4 (DR4) or DR5. Accordingly, it synergized with TRAIL to induce apoptosis. Enforced expression of ectopic c-FLIP did not attenuate API-1-induced apoptosis but inhibited its ability to enhance TRAIL-induced apoptosis. These data indicate that downregulation of c-FLIP mediates enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by API-1 but is not sufficient for API-1-induced apoptosis. API-1-induced reduction of c-FLIP could be blocked by the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Moreover, API-1 increased c-FLIP ubiquitination and decreased c-FLIP stability. These data together suggest that API-1 downregulates c-FLIP by facilitating its ubiquitination and proteasome-mediated degradation. Because other Akt inhibitors including API-2 and MK2206 had minimal effects on reducing c-FLIP and enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis, it is likely that API-1 reduces c-FLIP and enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis independent of its Akt-inhibitory activity.

2012 AACR

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