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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Jun;21(12):3964-73.

NF-kappaB inducers upregulate cFLIP, a cycloheximide-sensitive inhibitor of death receptor signaling.

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  • 1Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Stuttgart, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany.


The caspase 8 homologue FLICE-inhibitory protein (cFLIP) is a potent negative regulator of death receptor-induced apoptosis. We found that cFLIP can be upregulated in some cell lines under critical involvement of the NF-kappaB pathway, but NF-kappaB activation was clearly not sufficient for cFLIP induction in all cell lines. Treatment of SV80 cells with the proteasome inhibitor N-benzoyloxycarbonyl (Z)-Leu-Leu-leucinal (MG-132) or geldanamycin, a drug interfering with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced NF-kappaB activation, inhibited TNF-induced upregulation of cFLIP. Overexpression of a nondegradable IkappaBalpha mutant (IkappaBalpha-SR) or lack of IkappaB kinase gamma expression completely prevented phorbol myristate acetate-induced upregulation of cFLIP mRNA in Jurkat cells. These data point to an important role for NF-kappaB in the regulation of the cFLIP gene. SV80 cells normally show resistance to TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and TNF, as apoptosis can be induced only in the presence of low concentrations of cycloheximide (CHX). However, overexpression of IkappaBalpha-SR rendered SV80 cells sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in the absence of CHX, and cFLIP expression was able to reverse the proapoptotic effect of NF-kappaB inhibition. Western blot analysis further revealed that cFLIP, but not TRAF1, A20, and cIAP2, expression levels rapidly decrease upon CHX treatment. In conclusion, these data suggest a key role for cFLIP in the antiapoptotic response of NF-kappaB activation.

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