In various tumour types, elevated expression of the X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) has been observed and XIAP targeting in diverse tumour entities enhanced the susceptibility to chemotherapeutic agents. Therefore, XIAP has been described and reviewed repeatedly as a chemoresistance factor in different tumour entities. However, rather than being an adverse prognostic marker, recent data suggest that elevated XIAP expression may be associated with a favourable clinical outcome. These somewhat conflicting findings, and the fact that in early studies XIAP suppressed apoptosis only when expressed transiently at levels far in excess of its physiological concentration, argue that the function of XIAP as an anti-apoptotic factor in tumour cells is both more complex and diverse than previously appreciated.
To better understand the impact of long-term elevated XIAP expression on resistance to chemotherapy, we generated cell lines stably overexpressing XIAP. The role of mitochondria was examined by stable expression of Bcl2 or stable knockdown of second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC) in combination with up- or downregulation of XIAP expression.
Our data show that long-term expression of XIAP at concentrations comparable to that in tumour cells (two- to five-fold increase) resulted in little or no resistance towards chemotherapeutic drugs. The XIAP overexpression only in conjunction with stable knockdown of a single XIAP-antagonising factor such as SMAC resulted in severe resistance to cytostatic agents demonstrating XIAP as a potent chemoresistance factor only in cells lacking functional XIAP regulatory circuits.
Our results demonstrated that elevated XIAP expression alone cannot serve as a predictive marker of chemoresistance. Our data suggest that in order to predict the impact of XIAP on chemosusceptibility for a given tumour entity, the expression levels and functional states of all XIAP modulators need to be taken into account.
XIAP; mitochondria; apoptosis; chemoresistance
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a leading member of the family of inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) proteins, is considered as the most potent and versatile inhibitor of caspases and apoptosis. It has been reported that XIAP is frequently overexpressed in cancer and its expression level is implicated in contributing to tumorigenesis, disease progression, chemoresistance and poor patient-survival. Therefore, XIAP is one of the leading targets in drug development for cancer therapy. Recently, based on bioinformatics study, a previously unrecognized but evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain in IAPs was identified. The UBA domain is found to be essential for the oncogenic potential of IAP, to maintain endothelial cell survival and to protect cells from TNF-α-induced apoptosis. Moreover, the UBA domain is required for XIAP to activate NF-κB. In the present study, we report the near complete resonance assignments of the UBA domain-containing region of human XIAP protein. Secondary structure prediction based on chemical shift index (CSI) analysis reveals that the protein is predominately α-helical, which is consistent with the structures of known UBA proteins.
Ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain; X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (XIAP); NMR spectroscopy; Resonance assignment
Evasion of apoptosis contributes to the pathogenesis of solid tumours including non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Malignant cells resist apoptosis through over-expression of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), such as X-linked IAP (XIAP).
A phenylurea-based small molecule inhibitor of XIAP, XIAP antagonist compound (XAC) 1396-11, was investigated preclincally to determine its ability to sensitise to clinically relevant cytotoxics, potentially allowing dose reduction while maintaining therapeutic efficacy.
XIAP protein expression was detected in six NSCLC cell lines examined. The cytotoxicity of XAC 1396-11 against cultured NSCLC cell lines in vitro was concentration- and time-dependent in both short-term and clonogenic assays. XAC 1396-11-induced apoptosis was confirmed by PARP cleavage and characteristic nuclear morphology. XAC 1396-11 synergised with vinorelbine±cisplatin in H460 and A549 NSCLC cells. The mechanism of synergy was enhanced apoptosis, shown by increased cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP and by the reversal of synergy by a pan-caspase inhibitor. Synergy between XAC 1396-11 and vinorelbine was augmented by optimising drug scheduling with superior effects when XAC 1396-11 was administered before vinorelbine.
These preclinical data suggest that XIAP inhibition in combination with vinorelbine holds potential as a therapeutic strategy in NSCLC.
XIAP antagonist compound; XIAP; XAC 1396-11; apoptosis, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
This study examined if there are interactions between two key proteins that oppositely regulate intrinsic apoptosis, X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), a key suppressor of apoptosis that binds to inhibit active caspases, and glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3), which promotes intrinsic apoptosis. Immunoprecipitation of GSK3β revealed that XIAP associates with GSK3β, as do two other members of the IAP family, cIAP-1, and cIAP-2. Cell fractionation revealed that XIAP is predominantly cytosolic, cIAP-1 is predominantly nuclear, and cIAP-2 is present in both compartments, and nearly all of the nuclear cIAPs are associated with GSK3. Expression of individual domains of XIAP demonstrated that the Ring domain of XIAP associates GSK3. Inhibition of GSK3 did not alter the binding of XIAP to active caspase-9 or caspase-3 after stimulation of apoptosis with staurosporine. However, inhibition of GSK3 reduced apoptosis and apoptosome formation, including the recruitments of caspase-9 and XIAP to Apaf-1, in response to staurosporine treatment. Cell free measurements of apoptosome-induced caspase-3 activation demonstrated that GSK3 acts upstream of the apoptosome to facilitate intrinsic apoptotic signaling. This facilitation was blocked by overexpression of XIAP. These findings indicate that the Ring domain of XIAP (and probably cIAP-1 and cIAP-2) associates with GSK3, GSK3 acts upstream of the apoptosome to promote intrinsic apoptosis, and the association between XIAP and GSK3 may block the pro-apoptotic function of GSK3.
XIAP; GSK3; apoptosis
The X chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is the most potent intrinsic caspase inhibitor and plays an important role in the maintenance of intestinal epithelial integrity. The RNA binding protein, HuR, regulates the stability and translation of many target transcripts. Here, we report that HuR associated with both the 3′-untranslated region and coding sequence of the mRNA encoding XIAP, stabilized the XIAP transcript and elevated its expression in intestinal epithelial cells. Ectopic HuR overexpression or elevated cytoplasmic levels of endogenous HuR by decreasing cellular polyamines increased [HuR/XIAP mRNA] complexes, in turn promoting XIAP mRNA stability and increasing XIAP protein abundance. Conversely, HuR silencing in normal and polyamine-deficient cells rendered the XIAP mRNA unstable, thus reducing the steady state levels of XIAP. Inhibition of XIAP expression by XIAP silencing or by HuR silencing reversed the resistance of polyamine-deficient cells to apoptosis. Our findings demonstrate that HuR regulates XIAP expression by stabilizing its mRNA and implicates HuR-mediated XIAP in the control of intestinal epithelial apoptosis.
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is often overexpressed in cancer cells, where it plays a key role in survival and also promotes invasiveness. To date however, the extracellular signals and intracellular pathways regulating its expression and activity remain incompletely understood. We have previously showed that exposure to each of the three TGF-β (transforming growth factor beta) isoforms upregulates XIAP protein content in endometrial carcinoma cells in vitro. In the present study, we have investigated the clinical relevance of TGF-β isoforms in endometrial tumours and the mechanisms through which TGF-β isoforms regulate XIAP content in uterine cancer cells.
TGF-β isoforms immunoreactivity in clinical samples from endometrial tumours was assessed using immunofluorescence. Two model cancer cell lines (KLE endometrial carcinoma cells and HeLa cervical cancer cells) and pharmacological inhibitors were used to investigate the signalling pathways regulating XIAP expression and activity in response to autocrine and paracrine TGF-β in cancer cell.
We have found immunoreactivity for each TGF-β isoform in clinical samples from endometrial tumours, localizing to both stromal and epithelial/cancer cells. Blockade of autocrine TGF-β signaling in KLE endometrial carcinoma cells and HeLa cervical cancer cells reduced endogenous XIAP mRNA and protein levels. In addition, each TGF-β isoform upregulated XIAP gene expression when given exogenously, in a Smad/NF-κB dependent manner. This resulted in increased polyubiquitination of PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog on chromosome ten), a newly identified substrate for XIAP E3 ligase activity, and in a XIAP-dependent decrease of PTEN protein levels. Although each TGF-β isoform decreased PTEN content in a XIAP- and a Smad-dependent manner, decrease of PTEN levels in response to only one isoform, TGF-β3, was blocked by PI3-K inhibitor LY294002.
XIAP gene expression and function is positively regulated by exposure to the three TGF-β isoforms in a Smad-dependent manner, similar to constitutive XIAP gene expression which depends on autocrine TGF-β/Smad signalling.
Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) belong to a pivotal antiapoptotic protein family that plays a crucial role in tumorigenesis, cancer progression, chemoresistance and poor patient-survival. X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is a prominent member of IAPs attracting intense research because it has been demonstrated to be a physiological inhibitor of caspases and apoptosis. Recently, an evolutionarily conserved ubiquitin-associated (UBA) domain was identified in XIAP and a number of RING domain-bearing IAPs. This has placed the IAPs in the group of ubiquitin binding proteins. Here, we explore the three-dimensional structure of the XIAP UBA domain (XIAP-UBA) and how it interacts with mono-ubiquitin and diubiquitin conjugates.
The solution structure of the XIAP-UBA domain was determined by NMR spectroscopy. XIAP-UBA adopts a typical UBA domain fold of three tightly packed α-helices but with an additional N-terminal 310 helix. The XIAP-UBA binds mono-ubiquitin as well as Lys48-linked and linear-linked diubiquitins at low-micromolar affinities. NMR analysis of the XIAP-UBA–ubiquitin interaction reveals that it involves the classical hydrophobic patches surrounding Ile44 of ubiquitin and the conserved MGF/LV motif surfaces on XIAP-UBA. Furthermore, dimerization of XIAP-UBA was observed. Mapping of the self-association surface of XIAP-UBA reveals that the dimerization interface is formed by residues in the N-terminal 310 helix, helix α1 and helix α2, separate from the ubiquitin-binding surface.
Our results provide the first structural information of XIAP-UBA and map its interaction with mono-ubiquitin, Lys48-linked and linear-linked diubiquitins. The notion that XIAP-UBA uses different surfaces for ubiquitin-binding and self-association provides a plausible model to explain the reported selectivity of XIAP in binding polyubiquitin chains with different linkages.
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is associated with tumor genesis, growth, progression and metastasis, and acts by blocking caspase-mediated apoptosis. In the present study, we sought to evaluate the expression patterns of XIAP in various neoplastic thyroid disorders and determine the association between XIAP expression and clinicopathologic factors. Expression of XIAP was evaluated with immunohistochemical staining using monoclonal anti-XIAP in 164 specimens of conventional papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) and 53 specimens of other malignant or benign thyroid tumors. XIAP positivity was observed in 128 (78%) of the 164 conventional PTC specimens. Positive rates of XIAP expression in follicular variant PTC, follicular, medullary, poorly differentiated, and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma specimens were 20%, 25%, 38%, 67%, and 38%, respectively. Six nodular hyperplasia specimens were negative and 1 of 7 follicular adenomas (8%) was positive for XIAP. Lateral neck lymph node metastases were more frequent in patients negative for XIAP expression (P = 0.01). Immunohistochemical staining for XIAP as a novel molecular marker may thus be helpful in the differential diagnosis of thyroid cancer. Moreover, high XIAP expression in conventional PTC is strongly associated with reduced risk of lateral neck lymph node metastasis.
X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein; Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma; Thyroid Neoplasms; Lymph Nodes; Metastasis
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein, XIAP, inhibits the initiation and execution phases of the apoptotic pathway. XIAP is the most potent member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family of the endogenous caspase inhibitors. Therefore, targeting XIAP may be a promising strategy for the treatment of apoptosis-resistant malignancies. In this study we systematically studied the relationships of chemical structures of several novel ligands to their zinc-binding ability, molecular target XIAP, and tumor cell death-inducing activity. We show that treatment of PC-3 prostate cancer and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells with these membrane-permeable zinc-chelators with different zinc affinities results in varying degrees of XIAP depletion. Following decreased level of XIAP expression, we also show apoptosis-related caspase activation and cellular morphological changes upon treatment with strong zinc-chelators N4Py and BnTPEN. Addition of zinc has a full protective effect on the cells treated with these chelators, while iron addition has only partial protection that, however, can be further increased to a comparable level of protection as zinc by inhibition of ROS generation, indicating that cell death effects mediated by iron- but not zinc-complexes involve redox cycling. These findings suggest that strong zinc-chelating agents may be useful in the treatment of apoptosis-resistant human cancers.
Kinesin spindle protein (KSP), a microtubule-associated motor protein essential for cell cycle progression, is overexpressed in many cancers and a potential anti-tumor target. We found that inhibition of KSP by a selective inhibitor, ARRY-520, blocked cell cycle progression, leading to apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia cell lines which express high levels of KSP. Knockdown of p53, overexpression of XIAP, and mutation in caspase-8 did not significantly affect sensitivity to ARRY-520, suggesting that the response is independent of p53, XIAP, and the extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Although ARRY-520 induced mitotic arrest in both HL-60 and Bcl-2-overexpressing HL-60Bcl-2 cells, cell death was blunted in HL-60Bcl-2 cells, suggesting that the apoptotic program is executed through the mitochondrial pathway. Accordingly, inhibition of Bcl-2 by ABT-737 was synergistic with ARRY-520 in HL-60Bcl-2 cells. Furthermore, ARRY-520 increased Bim protein levels prior to caspase activation in HL-60 cells. ARRY-520 significantly inhibited tumor growth of xenografts in SCID mice and inhibited AML blast but not normal colony formation, supporting a critical role for KSP in proliferation of leukemic progenitor cells. These results demonstrate that ARRY-520 potently induces cell cycle block and subsequent death in leukemic cells via the mitochondrial pathway and has potential to eradicate AML progenitor cells.
KSP inhibitor ARRY-520; Eg5; cell cycle; apoptosis; mitochondrial pathway; AML
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP), the most potent member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP) family of endogenous caspase inhibitors, blocks the initiation and execution phases of the apoptotic cascade. As such, XIAP represents an attractive target for treating apoptosis-resistant forms of cancer. Here, we demonstrate that treatment with the membrane-permeable zinc chelator, N,N,N’,N’,-tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl) ethylenediamine (TPEN) induces a rapid depletion of XIAP at the posttranslational level in human PC-3 prostate cancer cells and several non-prostate cell lines. The depletion of XIAP is selective, as TPEN has no effect on the expression of other zinc-binding members of the IAP family including cIAP1, cIAP2, and survivin. The down-regulation of XIAP in TPEN-treated cells occurs via proteasome-and caspase-independent mechanisms and is completely prevented by the serine protease inhibitor, Pefabloc. Finally, our studies demonstrate that TPEN promotes activation of caspases-3 and -9 and sensitizes PC-3 prostate cancer cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Taken together, our findings indicate that zinc-chelating agents may be used to sensitize malignant cells to established cytotoxic agents via down-regulation of XIAP.
XIAP; zinc; cancer; prostate; apoptosis
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) is an inhibitor of apoptotic cell death that protects cells by caspase-dependent and independent mechanisms. In a screen for molecules that participate with XIAP in regulating cellular activities, we identified apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) as an XIAP binding protein. Baculoviral IAP repeat 2 of XIAP is sufficient for the XIAP/AIF interaction, which is disrupted by Smac/DIABLO. In healthy cells, mature human AIF lacks only the first 54 amino acids, differing significantly from the apoptotic form, which lacks the first 102 amino-terminal residues. Fluorescence complementation and immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that XIAP interacts with both AIF forms. AIF was found to be a target of XIAP-mediated ubiquitination under both normal and apoptotic conditions, and an E3 ubiquitin ligase-deficient XIAP variant displayed a more robust interaction with AIF. Expression of either XIAP or AIF attenuated both basal and antimycin A-stimulated levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and when XIAP and AIF were expressed in combination, a cumulative decrease in ROS was observed. These results identify AIF as a new XIAP binding partner and indicate a role for XIAP in regulating cellular ROS.
X-linked Inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) has been classically identified as a cell death regulator. Here, we demonstrate a novel function of XIAP as a regulator of neurite outgrowth in neuronal cells. In PC12 cells, XIAP overexpression prevents NGF-induced neuronal differentiation, whereas NGF treatment induces a reduction of endogenous XIAP levels concomitant with the induction of neuronal differentiation. Accordingly, downregulation of endogenous XIAP protein levels strongly increases neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells as well as axonal and dendritic length in primary cortical neurons. The effects of XIAP are mediated by the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) pathway since blocking this pathway completely prevents the neuritogenesis mediated by XIAP downregulation. In addition, we found that XIAP binds to cRaf and Trk receptors. Our results demonstrate that XIAP plays a new role as a negative regulator of neurotrophin-induced neurite outgrowth and neuronal differentiation in developing neurons.
Expression of the intrinsic cellular caspase inhibitor XIAP is regulated primarily at the level of protein synthesis. The 5′ untranslated region harbours an Internal Ribosome Entry Site (IRES) motif that supports cap-independent translation of XIAP mRNA during conditions of cellular stress. In this study, we show that the RNA-binding protein HuR, which is known to orchestrate an antiapoptotic cellular program, stimulates translation of XIAP mRNA through XIAP IRES. We further show that HuR binds to XIAP IRES in vitro and in vivo, and stimulates recruitment of the XIAP mRNA into polysomes. Importantly, protection from the apoptosis-inducing agent etoposide by overexpression of HuR requires the presence of XIAP, suggesting that HuR-mediated cytoprotection is partially executed through enhanced XIAP translation. Our data suggest that XIAP belongs to the HuR-regulated RNA operon of antiapoptotic genes, which, along with Bcl-2, Mcl-1 and ProTα, contributes to the regulation of cell survival.
translation; internal initiation; ITAF; HuR; XIAP; cancer
Approximately 60–80% of patients with advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) die within five years after diagnosis. Cisplatin-based chemotherapy is the most commonly used palliative treatment for these patients. To evaluate the prognostic value of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) level as a potential biomarker in these patients, we investigated the relationship between XIAP expression and cisplatin response of these patients and their prognosis.
Sixty patients with advanced HNSCC were recruited in this study. Expression of XIAP was examined both before and after chemotherapy and was correlated with chemotherapy response, clinicopathology parameters and clinical outcomes of the patients. We found that XIAP was expressed in 17 (20.83%) of the 60 advanced HNSCC samples and the expression was significantly associated with cisplatin resistance (P = 0.036) and poor clinical outcome (P = 0.025). Cisplatin-based chemotherapy induced XIAP expression in those post-chemotherapy samples (P = 0.011), was further associated with poorer clinical outcome (P = 0.029). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that only alcohol consumption, lymph node metastasis and XIAP level were independently associated with the prognosis of advanced HNSCC patients. Inhibiting XIAP expression with siRNA in XIAP overexpressed HNSCC cells remarkably increased their sensitivity to cisplatin treatment to nearly a 3 fold difference.
Our results demonstrate that XIAP overexpression plays an important role in the disease course and cisplatin-resistance of advanced HNSCC. XIAP is a valuable predictor of cisplatin-response and prognosis for patients with advanced head and neck cancer. Down-regulation of XIAP might be a promising adjuvant therapy for those patients of advanced HNSCC.
Effects of the HDAC inhibitor LBH-589 (panobinostat) on fludarabine lethality toward acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells were examined in vitro and in vivo. LBH-589 pretreatment sensitized U937, HL-60, and primary leukemia cells to fludarabine while blocking NF-κB activation accompanied by XIAP down-regulation and JNK activation. Pharmacologic or genetic JNK inhibition significantly attenuated LBH-589/fludarabine lethality, whereas XIAP over-expression diminished JNK activation and apoptosis. Combined in vivo treatment abrogated leukemia growth in a U937 xenograft murine model and substantially increased animal survival. These studies highlight the interplay between NF-κB activation, XIAP down-regulation, and JNK activation in anti-leukemic synergism between fludarabine and LBH-589.
AML; histone deacetylase inhibitor; fludarabine
TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a potential chemotherapeutic agent with high selectivity for malignant cells. Many tumors, however, are resistant to TRAIL cytotoxicity. Although cellular inhibitor of apoptosis 1 and 2 (cIAP-1 and -2) are often over-expressed in cancers, their role in mediating TRAIL resistance remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that TRAIL-induced apoptosis of liver cancer cells is associated with degradation of cIAP-1 and X-linked IAP (XIAP), whereas cIAP-2 remains unchanged. Lower concentrations of TRAIL causing minimal or no apoptosis do not alter cIAP-1 or XIAP protein levels. Silencing of cIAP-1 expression, but not XIAP or cIAP-2, as well as co-treatment with a second mitochondrial activator of caspases (SMAC) mimetic (which results in rapid depletion of cIAP-1), sensitizes the cells to TRAIL. TRAIL-induced loss of cIAP-1 and XIAP requires caspase activity. In particular, caspase 8 knockdown stabilizes both cIAP-1 and XIAP, while caspase 9 knockdown prevents XIAP, but not cIAP-1 degradation. Cell-free experiments confirmed cIAP-1 is a substrate for caspase 8, with likely multiple cleavage sites. These results suggest that TRAIL-mediated apoptosis proceeds through caspase 8-dependent degradation of cIAP-1. Targeted depletion of cIAP-1 by SMAC mimetics in conjunction with TRAIL may be beneficial for the treatment of human hepatobiliary malignancies.
Death receptors; chemoresistance; hepatobiliary cancer
It's well recognized that X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) was the most potent caspase inhibitor and second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (Smac) was the antagonist of XIAP. Experiments in vitro identified that down regulation of XIAP expression or applying Smac mimics could sensitize breast cancer cells to chemotherapeutics and promote apoptosis. However, expression status and biologic or prognostic significance of XIAP/Smac in breast invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) were not clear. The present study aimed to investigate relationship among expression status of XIAP/Smac, apoptosis index (AI), clinicopathologic parameters and prognosis in IDC.
Immunohistochemistry and TUNEL experiment were performed to detect expression of XIAP, Smac, ER, PR, HER2 and AI in 102 cases of paraffin-embedded IDC samples respectively. Expression of XIAP/Smac were also detected in limited 8 cases of fresh IDC specimens with Western blot.
Positive ratio and immunoscore of XIAP was markedly higher than Smac in IDC (P < 0.0001). It was noteworthy that 44 cases of IDC were positive in nuclear for XIAP, but none was for Smac. Expression status of Smac was more prevalent in HER2 positive group than negative group (P < 0.0001) and AI was positively correlated with HER2 protein expression (rs = 0.265, P = 0.017). The present study first revealed that XIAP positive nuclear labeling (XIAP-N), but not cytoplasmic staining (XIAP-C), was the apoptotic marker correlated significantly with patients' shortened overall survival (P = 0.039). Survival analysis demonstrated that XIAP-N was a new independent prognostic factor except for patient age and lymph node status.
Disturbed balance of expression between XIAP and Smac probably contributed to carcinogenesis and XIAP positive nuclear labeling was a new independent prognostic biomarker of breast IDC.
XIAP nuclear labeling; Smac; apoptosis index; prognosis
Overexpression studies have identified X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) as a potent inhibitor of caspases. However, the exact function of endogenous XIAP in regulating mammalian apoptosis is less clear. Endogenous XIAP strictly regulates cytochrome c–dependent caspase activation in sympathetic neurons but not in many mitotic cells. We report that postmitotic cardiomyocytes, unlike fibroblasts, are remarkably resistant to cytosolic microinjection of cytochrome c. The cardiomyocyte resistance to cytochrome c is mediated by endogenous XIAP, as XIAP-deficient cardiomyocytes die rapidly with cytosolic cytochrome c alone. Importantly, we found that cardiomyocytes, like neurons, have markedly reduced Apaf-1 levels and that this decrease in Apaf-1 is directly linked to the tight regulation of caspase activation by XIAP. These data identify an important function of XIAP in cardiomyocytes and point to a striking similarity in the regulation of apoptosis in postmitotic cells.
The X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis, XIAP, is the most powerful and ubiquitous intrinsic inhibitor of apoptosis. We have shown previously that the translation of XIAP is controlled by a potent internal ribosome entry site (IRES) element. IRES-mediated translation of XIAP is increased in response to cellular stress, suggesting the critical role for IRES translation during cellular stress. Here, we demonstrate that heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins C1 and C2 (hnRNPC1 and -C2) are part of the RNP complex that forms on XIAP IRES. Furthermore, the cellular levels of hnRNPC1 and -C2 parallel the activity of XIAP IRES and the overexpression of hnRNPC1 and -C2 specifically enhanced translation of XIAP IRES, suggesting that hnRNPC1 and -C2 may modulate XIAP expression. Given the central role of XIAP in the regulation of apoptosis these results are important for our understanding of the control of apoptosis.
The X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis (XIAP) has attracted much attention as a cancer drug target. It is the only member of the IAP family that can directly inhibit caspase activity in vitro, and it can regulate apoptosis and other biological processes through its C-terminal E3 ubiquitin ligase RING domain. However, there is controversy regarding XIAP's role in regulating tumor cell proliferation and survival under normal growth conditions in vitro.
We utilized siRNA to systematically knock down XIAP in ten human tumor cell lines and then monitored both XIAP protein levels and cell viability over time. To examine the role of XIAP in the intrinsic versus extrinsic cell death pathways, we compared the viability of XIAP depleted cells treated either with a variety of mechanistically distinct, intrinsic pathway inducing agents, or the canonical inducer of the extrinsic pathway, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL).
XIAP knockdown had no effect on the viability of six cell lines, whereas the effect in the other four was modest and transient. XIAP knockdown only sensitized tumor cells to TRAIL and not the mitochondrial pathway inducing agents.
These data indicate that XIAP has a more central role in regulating death receptor mediated apoptosis than it does the intrinsic pathway mediated cell death.
Inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) were intensively investigated in the context of cancer where they promote tumor growth and chemoresistence. Overexpression of the IAP BIRC6 is associated with unfavorable clinical features and negatively impacts relapse-free survival in childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Currently, BIRC6 levels in adult primary AML have not been compared to the expression in normal myeloid cells. Thus, we compared for the first time BIRC6 levels in adult primary AML patient samples to normal myeloid cells and studied its regulation and function during neutrophil differentiation.
We found significantly lower BIRC6 levels in particular AML subtypes as compared to granulocytes from healthy donors. The lowest BIRC6 expression was found in CD34+ progenitor cells. Moreover, BIRC6 expression significantly increased during neutrophil differentiation of AML cell lines and knocking down BIRC6 in NB4 acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells significantly impaired neutrophil differentiation, but not cell viability.
Together, we found an association of low BIRC6 levels with an immature myeloid phenotype and describe a function for BIRC6 in neutrophil differentiation of APL cells.
BIRC6; Acute myeloid leukemia; Acute promyelocytic leukemia; ATRA; Neutrophil differentiation
X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is a potent inhibitor of caspases 3, 7 and 9, and mitochondrial Smac (second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase) release during apoptosis inhibits the activity of XIAP. In this study we show that cytosolic XIAP also feeds back to mitochondria to impair Smac release. We constructed a fluorescent XIAP-fusion protein by labelling NH2- and COOH-termini with Cerulean fluorescent protein (C-XIAP-C). Immunoprecipitation confirmed that C-XIAP-C retained the ability to interact with Smac and impaired extrinsically and intrinsically activated apoptosis in response to tumour necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand/cycloheximide and staurosporine. In C-XIAP-C-expressing cells, cytochrome c release from mitochondria proceeded normally, whereas Smac release was significantly prolonged and incomplete. In addition, physiological expression of native XIAP prolonged or limited Smac release in HCT-116 colon cancer cells and primary mouse cortical neurons. The Smac-binding capacity of XIAP, but not caspase inhibition, was central for mitochondrial Smac retention, as evidenced in experiments using XIAP mutants that cannot bind to Smac or effector caspases. Similarly, the release of a Smac mutant that cannot bind to XIAP was not impaired by C-XIAP-C expression. Full Smac release could however be provoked by rapid cytosolic C-XIAP-C depletion upon digitonin-induced plasma membrane permeabilization. Our findings suggest that although mitochondria may already contain pores sufficient for cytochrome c release, elevated amounts of XIAP can selectively impair and limit the release of Smac.
apoptosis; mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization; XIAP; Smac; cytochrome c
Resistance to apoptosis is a hallmark of many solid tumors, including pancreatic cancers, and may be the underlying basis for the suboptimal response to chemo-radiation therapies. Overexpression of a family of inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAP) is commonly observed in pancreatic malignancies. We determined the therapeutic efficacy of recently described small-molecule antagonists of the X-linked IAP (XIAP) in preclinical models of pancreatic cancer. Primary pancreatic cancers were assessed for XIAP expression by immunohistochemistry, using a pancreatic cancer tissue microarray. XIAP small-molecule antagonists (“XAntag”; compounds 1396-11 and 1396-12) and the related compound 1396-28 were tested in vitro in a panel of human pancreatic cancer cell lines (Panc1, Capan1, and BxPC3) and in vivo in s.c. xenograft models for their ability to induce apoptosis and impede neoplastic growth. In addition, pancreatic cancer cell lines were treated with XAntags in conjunction with either tumor necrosis factor–related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) or with radiation to determine potential synergy for such dual targeting of the apoptotic machinery. XIAP was overexpressed in 14 of 18 (77%) of primary pancreatic cancers. The XAntags 1396-11 and 1396-12, but not the inactive isomer 1396-28, induced profound apoptosis in multiple pancreatic cancer cell lines tested in vitro, with a IC50 in the range of 2 to 5 μmol/L. Mechanistic specificity of the XAntags for the baculoviral IAP repeat-2 domain of XIAP was shown by preferential activation of downstream “effector” caspases (caspase-3 and caspase-7) versus the upstream “initiator” caspase-9. S.c. BxPC3 xenograft growth in athymic mice was significantly inhibited by monotherapy with XAntags; treated xenografts showed marked apoptosis and increased cleavage of caspase-3. Notably, striking synergy was demonstrable when XAntags were combined with either TRAIL or radiation therapy, as measured by growth inhibition in vitro and reduced colony formation in soft agar of pancreatic cancer cell lines, at dosages where these therapeutic modalities had minimal to modest effects when used alone. Finally, XAntags in combination with the standard-of-care agent for advanced pancreatic cancer, gemcitabine, resulted in significantly greater inhibition of in vitro growth than gemcitabine alone. Our results confirm that pharmacologic inhibition of XIAP is a potent therapeutic modality in pancreatic cancers. These antagonists are independently capable of inducing pancreatic cancer cell death and also show synergy when combined with proapoptotic ligands (TRAIL), with radiation, and with a conventional antimetabolite, gemcitabine. These preclinical results suggest that targeting of the apoptotic machinery in pancreatic cancers with XAntags is a promising therapeutic option that warrants further evaluation.
The ability of the vertebrate X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) protein to directly suppress apoptotic cell death pathways has been the subject of much research. Studies of this broadly expressed protein have largely focused on the unique interactions between XIAP and caspases – proteases that conduct and participate in the ordered disassembly of the cell during apoptosis. However, relatively less attention has been given to the RING domain of XIAP, which functions as an E3 ligase to catalyze the ubiquitination of substrate proteins. Here we discuss the evidence implicating the RING domain of XIAP in the ubiquitin-mediated regulation of three somewhat arbitrarily divided categories of substrate: XIAP itself, XIAP-interacting proteins involved in apoptosis, and other targets whose physiologic roles likely extend beyond cell death. Collectively, these multiple activities of XIAP demonstrate that this enigmatic protein participates in a range of cellular activities beyond apoptotic suppression.