Journal Article

Ectopic expression of Bcl-XL or Ku70 protects human colon cancer cells (SW480) against curcumin-induced apoptosis while their down-regulation potentiates it

Ramachandran Rashmi, Santhosh Kumar and Devarajan Karunagaran

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 25, issue 10, pages 1867-1877
Published in print October 2004 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online October 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Ectopic expression of Bcl-XL or Ku70 protects human colon cancer cells (SW480) against curcumin-induced apoptosis while their down-regulation potentiates it

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Curcumin, the yellow pigment derived from Curcuma longa, is known to induce apoptosis of several cancer cells. However, many cancer cells protect themselves by over-expressing antiapoptotic proteins such as Bcl-XL or Ku70. To study their role in curcumin-induced apoptosis, human colon cancer cells (SW480) were made to over-express or under-express Bcl-XL (by stable transfection) and Ku70 (by transient transfection) using plasmid constructs that express their genes in sense or antisense orientation, respectively. Stable cells that express Bax [Bax-GFP (green fluorescent protein)], a proapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family, were also established. Curcumin-induced cell death and nuclear condensation was more in AsBcl-XL and AsKu70 cells that under-express Bcl-XL and Ku70, respectively, compared with the vector-transfected cells. Bcl-XL and Ku70 protected the cells by inhibiting the release of cytochrome c, Smac (second mitochondria derived activator of caspase) and apoptosis inducing factor (AIF), and the activation of caspases 9, 8 and 3 triggered by curcumin. AsBcl-XL and AsKu70 cells were more sensitive to curcumin through enhanced activation of caspases 9 and 3 and release of cytochrome c, Smac and AIF. Curcumin-induced activation of caspase 8 was blocked by Ku70 but not by Bcl-XL. However, caspase 8 activation by curcumin was accelerated in both AsBcl-XL and AsKu70 cells suggesting a possible feedback activation of caspase 8 by caspase 3. Bax-GFP cells were highly sensitized when Ku70 was down-regulated supporting the reported role of Ku70 in the retention of Bax within the cytosol. The study reveals the potential of antisense inhibition of antiapoptotic proteins as an effective strategy to tackle chemoresistant cancers with curcumin.

Keywords: AFC, 7-amino-4-trifluoromethyl coumarin; AIF, apoptosis inducing factor; ΔΨm, mitochondrial membrane potential; DAPI, 4,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; GFP, green fluorescent 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.  7168 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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