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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 3;279(49):51057-67. Epub 2004 Sep 27.

Taxol induces caspase-10-dependent apoptosis.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and Indiana University Cancer Center, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202, USA.


Taxol (paclitaxel) is known to inhibit cell growth and trigger significant apoptosis in various cancer cells. Although taxol induces apoptosis of cancer cells, its exact mechanism of action is not yet known. In this study we investigated death receptors, FAS-associated death domain protein (FADD), the activation of caspases-10 and -8 as well as the downstream caspases, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in taxol-induced apoptosis in the CCRF-HSB-2 human lymphoblastic leukemia cell line. Pretreating the cells with neutralizing antibodies to Fas, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha receptor 1, or TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptors (DR4 and DR5) did not affect taxol-induced apoptosis, but transfection of the cells with a dominant negative FADD plasmid resulted in inhibition of taxol-induced apoptosis, revealing that taxol induces apoptosis independently of these death receptors but dependently on FADD. Furthermore, the drug induced activation of caspases-10, -8, -6, and -3, cleaved Bcl-2, Bid, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and lamin B, and down-regulated cellular levels of FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP) and X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP). However, despite the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria in taxol-treated cells, caspase-9 was not activated. Inhibitors of caspases-8, -6, or -3 partially inhibited taxol-induced apoptosis, whereas the caspase-10 inhibitor totally abrogated this process. Taxol-induced apoptosis was also associated with decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (Deltapsim) and a significant increase in ROS generation. However, increased ROS production was not directly involved in taxol-triggered apoptosis. Therefore, these results demonstrate for the first time that taxol induces FADD-dependent apoptosis primarily through activation of caspase-10 but independently of death receptors.

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