Theaflavins target Fas/caspase-8 and Akt/pBad pathways to induce apoptosis in p53-mutated human breast cancer cells

Lakshmishri Lahiry, Baisakhi Saha, Juni Chakraborty, Arghya Adhikary, Suchismita Mohanty, Dewan Md Sakib Hossain, Shuvomoy Banerjee, Kaushik Das, Gaurisankar Sa, Tanya Das
Carcinogenesis 2010, 31 (2): 259-68
The most common alterations found in breast cancer are inactivation or mutation of tumor suppressor gene p53. The present study revealed that theaflavins induced p53-mutated human breast cancer cell apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition of caspase-8 or expression of dominant-negative (Dn)-caspase-8/Fas-associated death domain (FADD) partially inhibited apoptosis, whereas caspase-9 inhibitor completely blocked the killing indicating involvement of parallel pathways that converged to mitochondria. Further studies demonstrated theaflavin-induced Fas upregulation through the activation of c-jun N-terminal kinase, Fas-FADD interaction in a Fas ligand-independent manner, caspase-8 activation and t-Bid formation. A search for the parallel pathway revealed theaflavin-induced inhibition of survival pathway, mediated by Akt deactivation and Bcl-xL/Bcl-2-associated death promoter dephosphorylation. These well-defined routes of growth control converged to a common process of mitochondrial transmembrane potential loss, cytochrome c release and activation of the executioner caspase-9 and -3. Overexpression of either constitutively active myristylated-Akt (Myr-Akt) or Dn-caspase-8 partially blocked theaflavin-induced mitochondrial permeability transition and apoptosis of p53-mutated cells, whereas cotransfection of Myr-Akt and Dn-caspase-8 completely abolished theaflavin effect thereby negating the possibility of existence of third pathways. These results and other biochemical correlates established the concept that two distinct signaling pathways were regulated by theaflavins to induce mitochondrial death cascade, eventually culminating to apoptosis of p53-mutated human breast cancer cells that are strongly resistant to conventional therapies.

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