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Snake venom toxin from Vipera lebetina turanica sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL through ROS- and JNK-mediated upregulation of death receptors and downregulation of survival proteins

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Abstract

We investigated whether snake venom toxin (SVT) from Vipera lebetina turanica enhances the apoptosis ability of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in cancer cells. TRAIL inhibited HCT116 cell growth in a dose-dependent manner; however, this reduction did not occur in TRAIL resistant HT-29, A549 and HepG2 cells with an even higher dose of TRAIL. SVT, but not TRAIL enhanced expression of cell death receptor (DR) in TRAIL resistant cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. A combination of SVT with TRAIL significantly inhibited cell growth of TRAIL resistant HT-29, A549 and HepG2 cells. Consistent with cell growth inhibition, the expression of TRAIL receptors; DR4 and DR5 was significantly increased as well as apoptosis related proteins such as cleaved caspase-3, -8, -9 and Bax. However, the expression of survival proteins (e.g., cFLIP, survivin, XIAP and Bcl2) was suppressed by the combination treatment of SVT and TRAIL. Depletion of DR4 or DR5 by small interfering RNA significantly reversed the cell growth inhibitory and apoptosis blocking effects of SVT in HCT116 and HT-29 cells. Pretreatment with the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125 and the reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenger N-acetylcysteine reduced the SVT and TRAIL-induced upregulation of DR4 and DR5 expression, expression of the apoptosis related protein such as caspase-3 and-9, as well as cell growth inhibitory effects. The collective results suggest that SVT facilitates TRAIL-induced apoptosis in cancer cells through up-regulation of the TRAIL receptors; DR4 and DR5 via ROS/JNK pathway signals.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Korea Research Foundation Grant (MRC9440, R13-2010-002948)

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The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

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Correspondence to Min Jong Song or Jin Tae Hong.

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Park, M.H., Jo, M., Won, D. et al. Snake venom toxin from Vipera lebetina turanica sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL through ROS- and JNK-mediated upregulation of death receptors and downregulation of survival proteins. Apoptosis 17, 1316–1326 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10495-012-0759-5

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