Unfolded protein response mediated JNK/AP-1 signal transduction, a target for ovarian cancer treatment

Gao-Feng Zheng, Zhen Cai, Xiang-Kai Meng, Yi Zhang, Wei Zhu, Xiao-Yan Pang, Lei Dou
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology 2015, 8 (6): 6505-11
Researches have revealed several stressors, which could activate unfolded protein response (UPR) in cells. However, the survival or death pathway was determined by the duration of UPR exposure. Based on the UPR mediated death pathway, our study was aimed to investigate role of UPR on c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/activator protein-1 (Ap-1) signal transduction in diindolylmethane (DIM) treated ovarian cancer cell lines. Activation of UPR proteins, UPR mediated apoptotic signaling proteins and expression level of EpCAM, JNK, Ap-1, Caspase-3 and Bcl-2 were measured. Protein and gene expression, transcription factor activity, and protein phosphorylation were measured using standard molecular biology techniques. Our results demonstrated DIM treatment had significantly increased the expression of Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress regulators such as Bip, IRE1, CHOP and activation of UPR related apoptotic proteins in ovarian cancer cells. Decreased expression of EpCAM and activity of AP-1 transcription factor were observed in DIM treated cells. The pharmacologic inhibitors of the JNK signal transduction pathway, suggest that the impact of EpCAM expression on AP-1 transcription factor activity is mediated through the JNK pathway. Taken together, these results suggest that UPR mediated JNK/Ap-1 signal transduction has a significant role in the regulation of apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cells, and is a potential molecular target to enhance sensitivity of ovarian cancer to chemotherapy.

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