This study was designed to investigate the effects of the prenylated flavonoid kurarinone on TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis and its underlying mechanism. A low dose of kurarinone had no significant effect on apoptosis, but this compound markedly promoted tumor cell death through elevation of Bid cleavage, cytochrome c release and caspase activation in HeLa cells treated with TRAIL. Caspase inhibitors inhibited kurarinone-mediated cell death, which indicates that the cytotoxic effect of this compound is mediated by caspase-dependent apoptosis. The cytotoxic effect of kurarinone was not associated with expression levels of Bcl-2 and IAP family proteins, such as Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Bid, Bad, Bax, XIAP, cIAP-1 and cIAP-2. In addition, this compound did not regulate the death-inducing receptors DR4 and DR5. On the other hand, kurarinone significantly inhibited TRAIL-induced IKK activation, IκB degradation and nuclear translocation of NF-κB, as well as effectively suppressed cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein long form (cFLIPL) expression. The synergistic effects of kurarinone on TRAIL-induced apoptosis were mimicked when kurarinone was replaced by the NF-κB inhibitor withaferin A or following siRNA-mediated knockdown of cFLIPL. Moreover, cFLIP overexpression effectively antagonized kurarinone-mediated TRAIL sensitization. These data suggest that kurarinone sensitizes TRAIL-induced tumor cell apoptosis via suppression of NF-κB-dependent cFLIP expression, indicating that this compound can be used as an anti-tumor agent in combination with TRAIL.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry