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J Biol Chem. 2009 Dec 11;284(50):34553-60. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.040139. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

X chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis regulates cell death induction by proapoptotic receptor agonists.

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Department of Protein Engineering, Genentech, Inc., South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.


Proapoptotic receptor agonists cause cellular demise through the activation of the extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways. Inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins block apoptosis induced by diverse stimuli. Here, we demonstrate that IAP antagonists in combination with Fas ligand (FasL) or the death receptor 5 (DR5) agonist antibody synergistically stimulate death in cancer cells and inhibit tumor growth. Single-agent activity of IAP antagonists relies on tumor necrosis factor-alpha signaling. By contrast, blockade of tumor necrosis factor-alpha does not affect the synergistic activity of IAP antagonists with FasL or DR5 agonist antibody. In most cancer cells, proapoptotic receptor agonist-induced cell death depends on amplifying the apoptotic signal via caspase-8-mediated activation of Bid and subsequent activation of the caspase-9-dependent mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In the investigated cancer cell lines, induction of apoptosis by FasL or DR5 agonist antibody can be inhibited by knockdown of Bid. However, knockdown of X chromosome-linked IAP (XIAP) or antagonism of XIAP allows FasL or DR5 agonist antibody to induce activation of effector caspases efficiently without the need for mitochondrial amplification of the apoptotic signal and thus rescues the effect of Bid knockdown in these cells.

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