Cisplatin-mediated c-myc overexpression and cytochrome c (cyt c) release result in the up-regulation of the death receptors DR4 and DR5 and the activation of caspase 3 and caspase 9, likely responsible for the TRAIL-sensitizing effect of cisplatin

Xingchao Zhu, Kaiguang Zhang, Qiaomin Wang, Si Chen, Yawen Gou, Yufang Cui, Qin Li
Medical Oncology 2015, 32 (4): 133
Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) reverses multidrug resistance (MDR) and induces apoptosis in MDR gastric carcinoma cells. In our previous study, cisplatin proved to be a sensitizing agent for TRAIL. To study the synergistic effects of cisplatin and TRAIL, we investigated the mechanism by which TRAIL reverses multidrug resistance, the role of c-myc in modulating the death receptors DR4 and DR5 and the relationship between cisplatin and cytochrome c (cyt c) release in SGC7901/VCR and SGC7901/DDP cells. We found that after treatment with TRAIL, the DNA-PKcs/Akt/GSK-3β pathway, which is positively correlated with the levels of MDR1 and MRP1, was significantly inhibited and that this tendency can be abolished by Z-DEVD-FMK (a specific caspase 3 inhibitor). We also found that suppression of c-myc by siRNA reduced the expression of DR4 and DR5 and that transfection with a pAVV-c-myc expression vector increased the expression of DR4 and DR5. Moreover, cisplatin increased the expression of c-myc in the presence of TRAIL, and there is a clear increase in cyt c release from mitochondria with the increasing concentrations of cisplatin. Meanwhile, the intrinsic death receptor pathway of caspase 9, as well as the common intrinsic and extrinsic downstream target, caspase 3, was potently activated by the release of cyt c. Together, we conclude that in TRAIL-treated MDR gastric carcinoma cells, cisplatin induces the death receptors DR4 and DR5 through the up-regulation of c-myc and strengthens the activation of caspases via promoting the release of cyt c. These effects would then be responsible for the TRAIL sensitization effect of cisplatin.

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