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Mol Cancer Res. 2014 Feb;12(2):217-27. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0441. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Inhibition of PP2A activity confers a TRAIL-sensitive phenotype during malignant transformation.

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Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1277 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan 430022, Hubei Province, China.


TRAIL is a promising anticancer agent because it induces apoptosis in the majority of human cancer cells but spares the normal cells. To determine the mechanistic nature of how normal cells acquire a TRAIL-sensitive phenotype during the process of malignant transformation, an experimental cell system was developed by sequential introduction of human telomerase reverse transcriptase and SV40 T antigens (large and small) into normal human prostatic epithelial cells (PrEC). This model system demonstrated that inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), either by SV40 small T antigen, okadaic acid, Calyculin A, or PP2A catalytic subunit siRNA, sensitized normal human PrEC and immortalized cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Moreover, sensitization occurred during the premalignant period of tumorigenesis and PP2A exerted its antiapoptotic activity by negatively regulating c-Fos/AP-1. In addition, low-dose okadaic acid treatment sensitized TRAIL-resistant cancer cells to TRAIL, suggesting that PP2A inhibitors could be used as an enhancer of apoptosis induced by TRAIL or TRAIL-like agents. These data indicate that downregulation of PP2A activity is a critical step for normal cells to acquire a TRAIL-sensitive phenotype during tumorigenesis and that the level of PP2A activity may foretell cellular sensitivity to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.


Inhibition of PP2A is a key determinant in acquiring TRAIL sensitivity during tumorigenesis, with c-Fos/AP-1 as an essential mediator.

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