c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase-mediated up-regulation of death receptor 5 contributes to induction of apoptosis by the novel synthetic triterpenoid methyl-2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1, 9-dien-28-oate in human lung cancer cells

Wei Zou, Xiangguo Liu, Ping Yue, Zhongmei Zhou, Michael B Sporn, Reuben Lotan, Fadlo R Khuri, Shi-Yong Sun
Cancer Research 2004 October 15, 64 (20): 7570-8
Death receptor (DR) 4 or 5, on binding to its ligand, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), triggers apoptosis via activating the caspase-8-mediated caspase cascade. Certain anticancer drugs up-regulate the expression of these receptors and thereby induce apoptosis or enhance TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In this study, we explored the ability of methyl-2-cyano-3,12-dioxooleana-1,9-dien-28-oate (CDDO-Me) to activate the extrinsic DR-mediated apoptotic pathway in human lung cancer cells. We found that CDDO-Me not only activated caspase-8 but also induced expression of DRs, particularly DR5, in a p53-independent mechanism. Correspondingly, CDDO-Me augmented TRAIL-induced apoptosis in these cells regardless of p53 status as evidenced by enhanced DNA fragmentation and activation of caspase cascades, suggesting that CDDO-Me-induced DRs are functionally active. Moreover, silencing of DR5 expression using small interfering RNA suppressed apoptosis induced by CDDO-Me alone or by combination of CDDO-Me and TRAIL, indicating that DR5 up-regulation is required for induction of apoptosis by CDDO-Me and for enhancement of TRAIL-induced apoptosis by CDDO-Me. CDDO-Me rapidly activated c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) before DR up-regulation and caspase-8 activation. Moreover, application of the JNK-specific inhibitor SP600125 blocked CDDO-Me-induced increases in JNK activation, DR up-regulation, caspase-8 activation, and DNA fragmentation. These results show that activation of JNK pathway results in CDDO-Me-induced DR up-regulation, caspase-8 activation, and apoptosis. Collectively, we conclude that CDDO-Me induces apoptosis via the JNK-mediated DR up-regulation in human lung cancer cells.

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