RAS oncogenes play a major role in cancer development by activating an array of signaling pathways, most notably mitogen-activated protein kinases, resulting in aberrant proliferation and inhibition of apoptotic signaling cascades, rendering transformed cells resistant to extrinsic death stimuli. However, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is able to kill specific tumor cells through the engagement of its receptors, death receptor 4 (DR4) and death receptor 5 (DR5), and the activation of apoptotic pathways, providing promising targets for anticancer therapies. In this study, we show that TRAIL induces cell death in human colon adenocarcinoma cells in a MEK-dependent manner. We also report a prolonged MEK-dependent activation of ERK1/2 and increased c-FOS expression induced by TRAIL in this system. Our study reveals that transformation of the colon cell line Caco-2 by Ki- and mainly by Ha-ras oncogenes sensitizes these cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by causing specific MEK-dependent up-regulation of DR4 and DR5. These observations taken together reveal that RAS-MEK-ERK1/2 signaling pathway can sensitize cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by up-regulating DR4 and DR5 and overall imply that TRAIL-based therapeutic strategies using TRAIL agonists could be used in cases of human colon cancers bearing RAS mutations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology