GRP78/BiP inhibits endoplasmic reticulum BIK and protects human breast cancer cells against estrogen starvation-induced apoptosis

Yong Fu, Jianze Li, Amy S Lee
Cancer Research 2007 April 15, 67 (8): 3734-40
The recent development of hormonal therapy that blocks estrogen synthesis represents a major advance in the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. However, cancer cells often acquire adaptations resulting in resistance. A recent report reveals that estrogen starvation-induced apoptosis of breast cancer cells requires BIK, an apoptotic BH3-only protein located primarily at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Searching for novel partners that interact with BIK at the ER, we discovered that BIK selectively forms complex with the glucose-regulated protein GRP78/BiP, a major ER chaperone with prosurvival properties naturally induced in the tumor microenvironment. GRP78 overexpression decreases apoptosis of 293T cells induced by ER-targeted BIK. For estrogen-dependent MCF-7/BUS breast cancer cells, overexpression of GRP78 inhibits estrogen starvation-induced BAX activation, mitochondrial permeability transition, and consequent apoptosis. Further, knockdown of endogenous GRP78 by small interfering RNA (siRNA) sensitizes MCF-7/BUS cells to estrogen starvation-induced apoptosis. This effect was substantially reduced when the expression of BIK was also reduced by siRNA. Our results provide the first evidence that GRP78 confers resistance to estrogen starvation-induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells via a novel mechanism mediated by BIK. These results further suggest that GRP78 expression level in the tumor cells may serve as a prognostic marker for responsiveness to hormonal therapy based on estrogen starvation and that combination therapy targeting GRP78 may enhance efficacy and reduce resistance.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"