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TAT-RasGAP317-326-mediated tumor cell death sensitization can occur independently of Bax and Bak.
Apoptosis : An International Journal On Programmed Cell Death
Publication types: Journal Article
The increase of cancer specificity and efficacy of anti-tumoral agents are prime strategies to overcome the deleterious side effects associated with anti-cancer treatments. We described earlier a cell-permeable protease-resistant peptide derived from the p120 RasGAP protein, called TAT-RasGAP317-326, as being an efficient tumor-specific sensitizer to apoptosis induced by genotoxins in vitro and in vivo. Bcl-2 family members regulate the intrinsic apoptotic response and as such could be targeted by TAT-RasGAP317-326. Our results indicate that the RasGAP-derived peptide increases cisplatin-induced Bax activation. We found no evidence, using in particular knock-out cells, of an involvement of other Bcl-2 family proteins in the tumor-specific sensitization activity of TAT-RasGAP317-326. The absence of Bax and Bak in mouse embryonic fibroblasts rendered them resistant to cisplatin-induced apoptosis and consequently to the sensitizing action of the RasGAP-derived peptide. Surprisingly, in the HCT116 colon carcinoma cell line, the absence of Bax and Bak did not prevent cisplatin-induced apoptosis and the ability of TAT-RasGAP317-326 to augment this response. Our study also revealed that p53, while required for an efficient genotoxin-induced apoptotic response, is dispensable for the ability of the RasGAP-derived peptide to improve the capacity of genotoxins to decrease long-term survival of cancer cells. Hence, even though genotoxin-induced Bax activity can be increased by TAT-RasGAP317-326, the sensitizing activity of the RasGAP-derived peptide can operate in the absence of a functional mitochondrial intrinsic death pathway.
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