The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL, Apo-2L) is a recently characterized member of the family of programmed cell death-inducing ligands that includes TNF-α and CD95L (FasL). It is well known that TRAIL binds to the death signaling receptors, DR4 and DR5, and initiates the TRAIL death pathway. Activation of this pathway, mediated through a caspase cascade, causes apoptosis. In this study, we hypothesized that oxidative stress facilitates TRAIL-induced apoptosis by promoting caspase activity through cytochrome c release from mitochondria. Human colorectal carcinoma CX-1 cells were treated with various concentrations of TRAIL (12.5-200 ng/ml) and/or sodium nitroprusside (SNP; 0.03-1 mM) for 12 h. SNP, a nitric oxide donor, which had little toxic effect by itself, enhanced TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity. For example, TRAIL-induced apoptosis (200 ng/ml) was increased by a factor of 2.5-fold in the presence of 1 mM SNP. The combined treatment also caused an increase in cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activity, and PARP cleavage. Overexpression of Bcl-2 completely blocked the SNP-promoting effects, but only moderately inhibited TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Similar results were observed in the presence of hydrogen peroxide or peroxynitrite. Taken together, the present studies suggest that SNP enhances TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity by facilitating the mitochondria-mediated caspase signal transduction pathway.
- Cytochrome c
- Nitric oxide