Journal Article

Ectopic expression of Hsp70 confers resistance and silencing its expression sensitizes human colon cancer cells to curcumin-induced apoptosis

Ramachandran Rashmi, Santhosh Kumar and Devarajan Karunagaran

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 25, issue 2, pages 179-187
Published in print February 2004 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online February 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgh001
Ectopic expression of Hsp70 confers resistance and silencing its expression sensitizes human colon cancer cells to curcumin-induced apoptosis

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We have shown earlier that heat shock renders human colon cancer cells resistant to curcumin-induced apoptosis, but the contribution of individual heat shock proteins (hsps) to this resistance has not been tested. High expression of hsp27 and hsp70 in breast, endometrial and gastric cancers has been associated with metastasis, poor prognosis and resistance to chemo- or radiotherapy. In this study, SW480 cells were transfected with hsp70 cDNA in either the sense or antisense orientation and stable clones were selected and tested for their sensitivity to curcumin. The cells were protected from curcumin-induced cell death by hsp70 while cells harboring antisense hsp70 (Ashsp70) were highly sensitive to curcumin. Curcumin-induced nuclear condensation was less in hsp70 but more in Ashsp70 cells when compared with control vector-transfected cells. Loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential induced by curcumin was further accelerated by antisense hsp70 expression and hsp70 restored it partly. Ashsp70 cells released more cytochrome c, AIF and Smac from mitochondria upon curcumin treatment than control cells. hsp70 partly prevented the release of AIF but not the other proteins. Activation of caspases 3 and 9 induced by curcumin was also inhibited by hsp70, whereas more activation could be seen in Ashsp70 cells, although caspase 8 activation was unaffected by changes in hsp70 expression. Curcumin-induced cleavage of PARP and DFF45 was inhibited by hsp70 but enhanced in Ashsp70 cells. The present study demonstrates the potential of hsp70 in protecting SW480 cells from curcumin-induced apoptosis and highlights that silencing the expression of hsp70 is an effective approach to augment curcumin-based therapy in cancers that are resistant due to hsp70 expression.

Keywords: AFC, 7-amino-4-(trifluoromethyl) coumarin; AIF, apoptosis-inducing factor; Apaf-1, apoptosis protease activating factor-1; DAPI, 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; ΔΨm, mitochondrial transmembrane potential; DFF45, DNA fragmentation factor 45; FITC, fluorescein isothiocyanate; hsp, heat shock protein; MTT, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide; PARP, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase; PBS, phosphate-buffered saline; Smac, second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase

Journal Article.  5721 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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