Endoplasmic reticulum stress in the proapoptotic action of edelfosine in solid tumor cells

Teresa Nieto-Miguel, Rosalba I Fonteriz, Laura Vay, Consuelo Gajate, Silvia López-Hernández, Faustino Mollinedo
Cancer Research 2007 November 1, 67 (21): 10368-78
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) has been posited as a potential anticancer target. The synthetic antitumor alkyl-lysophospholipid analogue edelfosine accumulates in the ER of solid tumor cells. This ER accumulation of the drug leads to the inhibition of phosphatidylcholine and protein synthesis, G(2)-M arrest, depletion of ER-stored Ca(2+), Bax up-regulation and activation, transcriptional factor growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible gene 153 up-regulation, caspase-4 and caspase-8 activation, and eventually to apoptosis. Edelfosine prompted ER stress apoptotic signaling, but not the survival unfolded protein response. Edelfosine also induced persistent c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) activation. Gene transfer-mediated overexpression of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1, which plays a crucial role in ER stress, enhanced edelfosine-induced JNK activation and apoptosis. Inhibition of JNK, caspase-4, or caspase-8 activation diminished edelfosine-induced apoptosis. Edelfosine treatment led to the generation of the p20 caspase-8 cleavage fragment of BAP31, directing proapoptotic signals between the ER and the mitochondria. bax(-/-)bak(-/-) double-knockout cells fail to undergo edelfosine-induced ER-stored Ca(2+) release and apoptosis. Wild-type and bax(-/-)bak(-/-) cells showed similar patterns of phosphatidylcholine and protein synthesis inhibition, despite their differences in drug sensitivity. Thus, edelfosine-induced apoptosis is dependent on Bax/Bak-mediated ER-stored Ca(2+) release, but phosphatidylcholine and protein synthesis inhibition is not critical. Transfection-enforced expression of Bcl-X(L), which localizes specifically in mitochondria, prevented apoptosis without inhibiting ER-stored Ca(2+) release. These data reveal that edelfosine induces an ER stress response in solid tumor cells, providing novel insights into the edelfosine-mediated antitumor activity. Our data also indicate that mitochondria are indispensable for this edelfosine-induced cell death initiated by ER stress.

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