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Cell Death Differ. 2007 Mar;14(3):534-47. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

FKHRL1-mediated expression of Noxa and Bim induces apoptosis via the mitochondria in neuroblastoma cells.

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Tyrolean Cancer Research Institute, Innsbruck, Austria.


Protein kinase-B (PKB) and its target, the forkhead transcription factor like 1 (FKHRL1)/FoxO3a, have been suggested as regulators of neurotrophin-mediated cell survival in neuronal cells. We analyzed human neuroblastoma cells and found that FKHRL1 was phosphorylated, suggesting its inactivation. To study FKHRL1 function, we infected SH-EP and NB15 cells with a 4OH-tamoxifen-regulated FKHRL1(A3)ER(tm) transgene. Activation of FKHRL1 promoted cytochrome-c release and caspase-dependent apoptosis. FKHRL1 induced TRAIL and the BH3-only proteins Noxa and Bim, implicating both extrinsic and intrinsic death pathways. However, expression of dnFADD did not inhibit FKHRL1-induced cell death, whereas Bcl2 protected against apoptosis. This excluded the death-receptor pathway and suggested that cell death decision is regulated by Bcl2-rheostat. Importantly, RNAi knockdown of Noxa or Bim decreased apoptosis, indicating that Noxa and Bim cooperate to mediate FKHRL1-induced cell death. We conclude that Noxa and Bim establish a connection between FKHRL1 and mitochondria, and that both BH3-only proteins are critically involved in FKHRL1-induced apoptosis in neuroblastoma.

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