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Oncogene. 2003 Sep 18;22(40):6220-30.

The chemopreventive agent N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide induces apoptosis through a mitochondrial pathway regulated by proteins from the Bcl-2 family.

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Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR8125, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.


N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR, fenretinide) is a potent chemopreventive agent whose effect has been suggested to involve apoptosis induction. 4-HPR induces a loss of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential and the mitochondrial release of cytochrome c before caspase activation. Inhibition of mitochondrial membrane permeabilization (MMP) by transfection with Bcl-2 or the Cytomegalovirus UL37 gene product vMIA prevented caspase activation and cell death. In contrast to other retinoid derivatives, 4-HPR has no direct MMP-inducing effects when added to isolated mitochondria or when added to proteoliposomes containing the MMP-regulatory permeability transition pore complex (PTPC). Moreover, although reactive oxygen species (ROS) overproduction appears to be instrumental for 4-HPR-induced MMP and apoptosis, inhibition of the NF-kappaB or p53-mediated signal transduction pathways failed to modulate 4-HPR-induced apoptosis. 4-HPR was found to cause an antioxidant-inhibitable conformational change of both Bax and Bak, leading to the exposure of their N-termini and to the mitochondrial relocalization of Bax. Cells with a Bax(-/-) Bak(-/-) genotype were resistant against the 4-HPR-induced MMP, overproduction of ROS and cell death. Altogether, these data indicate that 4-HPR induces MMP through an ROS-mediated pathway that involves the obligatory contribution of the proapopotic Bcl-2 family members Bax and/or Bak.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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