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Biomed Pharmacother. 2013 May;67(4):321-8. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2012.11.005. Epub 2012 Nov 23.

Synergistic induction of TRAIL-mediated apoptosis by anisomycin in human hepatoma cells via the BH3-only protein Bid and c-Jun/AP-1 signaling pathway.

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School of Pharmaceutical Science, Zhengzhou University, 100 Kexue Avenue, Zhengzhou, Henan 450001, China.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF super-family, and it has been shown that many human cancer cell lines are refractory to TRAIL-induced cell death. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying resistance are unclear. In the present study, we show that TRAIL-resistance is reversed in human hepatoma cells by anisomycin, which is known to inhibit protein synthesis and induce ribotoxic stress. Synergistic induction of apoptosis in cells treated with anisomycin plus TRAIL was associated with activation of caspases and cleavage of Bid, a pro-apoptotic BH3-only protein. Silencing of Bid expression by small interfering RNA (siRNA) significantly attenuated the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP, Δψm) and significantly increased induction of apoptosis in cells treated with anisomycin and TRAIL, confirming that Bid cleavage is required for the response. In addition, c-Jun/AP-1 was rapidly activated upon stimulation with anisomycin; however, the knockdown of c-Jun/AP-1 expression by c-Jun siRNA markedly reduced anisomycin plus TRAIL-induced loss of MMP and apoptosis. Taken together, the findings show that anisomycin sensitizes TRAIL-mediated hepatoma cell apoptosis via the mitochondria-associated pathway, involving the cleavage of Bid and activation of the c-Jun/AP-1 pathway, indicating that this compound can be used as an anti-tumor agent in combination with TRAIL.

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