Emerging evidence has pointed to biological roles of melanoma-associated antigens (MAGEs) in cancer development, progression and resistance to treatment. However, the mechanisms involved remain to be fully elucidated. In this report, we show that one of the MAGE proteins, MAGE-D2, suppresses the expression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) death receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2) and plays an important role in protecting melanoma cells from apoptosis induced by TRAIL. MAGE-D2 was commonly expressed at increased levels in melanoma cells compared with melanocytes. Although its inhibition by small interfering RNA (siRNA) did not cause cell death, it rendered melanoma cells more sensitive to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. This was associated with enhanced formation of TRAIL death-inducing signaling complex and up-regulation of TRAIL-R2, and was blocked by a recombinant TRAIL-R2/Fc chimeric protein or siRNA knockdown of TRAIL-R2. Regulation of TRAIL-R2 by MAGE-D2 appeared to be mediated by p53, in that knockdown MAGE-D2 did not up-regulate TRAIL-R2 in p53-null or mutant p53 melanoma cells. In addition, inhibition of MAGE-D2 did not result in up-regulation of TRAIL-R2 in wild-type p53 cell lines with p53 inhibited by short hairpin RNA. Indeed, knockdown of MAGE-D2 led to up-regulation of p53 due to a transcriptional increase. The regulatory effect of MAGE-D2 on TRAIL-R2 expression and TRAIL-induced apoptosis was recapitulated in studies on fresh melanoma isolates. Taken together, these results identify the expression of MAGE-D2 as an important mechanism that inhibit TRAIL-induced apoptosis and suggest that targeting MAGE-D2 may be a useful strategy in improving the therapeutic efficacy of TRAIL in melanoma.
Journal Article. 6950 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics
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