JOURNAL ARTICLE

Short-hairpin RNA-induced suppression of adenine nucleotide translocase-2 in breast cancer cells restores their susceptibility to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by activating JNK and modulating TRAIL receptor expression

Ji-Young Jang, Yoon-Kyung Jeon, Yun Choi, Chul-Woo Kim
Molecular Cancer 2010, 9: 262
20875141

BACKGROUND: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL; apo2 ligand) induces apoptosis in cancer cells but has little effect on normal cells. However, many cancer cell types are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, limiting the clinical utility of TRAIL as an anti-cancer agent. We previously reported that the suppression of adenine nucleotide translocase-2 (ANT2) by short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells, which frequently express high levels of ANT2. In the present study, we examined the effect of RNA shRNA-induced suppression of ANT2 on the resistance of breast cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis in vitro and in vivo.

RESULTS: ANT2 shRNA treatment sensitized MCF7, T47 D, and BT474 cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by up-regulating the expression of TRAIL death receptors 4 and 5 (DR4 and DR5) and down-regulating the TRAIL decoy receptor 2 (DcR2). In MCF7 cells, ANT2 knockdown activated the stress kinase c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), subsequently stabilizing and increasing the transcriptional activity of p53 by phosphorylating it at Thr81; it also enhanced the expression and activity of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1). ANT2 shRNA-induced overexpression of DR4/DR5 and TRAIL sensitization were blocked by a p53 inhibitor, suggesting that p53 activation plays an important role in the transcriptional up-regulation of DR4/DR5. However, ANT2 knockdown also up-regulated DR4/DR5 in the p53-mutant cell lines BT474 and T47 D. In MCF7 cells, ANT2 shRNA treatment led to DcR2 promoter methylation and concomitant down-regulation of DcR2 expression, consistent with the observed activation of DNMT1. Treatment of the cells with a demethylating agent or JNK inhibitor prevented the ANT2 shRNA-induced down-regulation of DcR2 and activation of both p53 and DNMT1. In in vivo experiments using nude mice, ANT2 shRNA caused TRAIL-resistant MCF7 xenografts to undergo TRAIL-induced cell death, up-regulated DR4/DR5, and down-regulated DcR2. Co-treatment with ANT2 shRNA and TRAIL efficiently suppressed tumor growth in these mice.

CONCLUSIONS: ANT2 suppression by shRNA might be exploited to overcome TRAIL-resistance in cancer.

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