Elevated Akt Activity Protects the Prostate Cancer Cell Line LNCaP from TRAIL-induced Apoptosis

Alexandre Nesterov, Xiaojun Lu, Michael Johnson, Gary J. Miller, Yuri Ivashchenko, Andrew S. Kraft

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260 Scopus citations


We find that the prostate cancer cell lines ALVA-31, PC-3, and DU 145 are highly sensitive to apoptosis induced by TRAIL (tumor-necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand), while the cell lines TSU-Pr1 and JCA-1 are moderately sensitive, and the LNCaP cell line is resistant. LNCaP cells lack active lipid phosphatase PTEN, a negative regulator of the phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase/Akt pathway, and demonstrate a high constitutive Akt activity. Inhibition of PI 3-kinase using wortmannin and LY-294002 suppressed constitutive Akt activity and sensitized LNCaP cells to TRAIL. Treatment of LNCaP cells with TRAIL alone induced cleavage of the caspase 8 and XIAP proteins. However, processing of BID, mitochondrial release of cytochrome c, activation of caspases 7 and 9, and apoptosis did not occur unless TRAIL was combined with either wortmannin, LY-294002, or cycloheximide. Blocking cytochrome c release by Bcl-2 overexpression rendered LNCaP cells resistant to TRAIL plus wortmannin treatment but did not affect caspase 8 or BID processing. This indicates that in these cells mitochondria are required for the propagation rather than the initiation of the apoptotic cascade. Infection of LNCaP cells with an adenovirus expressing a constitutively active Akt reversed the ability of wortmannin to potentiate TRAIL-induced BID cleavage. Thus, the PI 3-kinase-dependent blockage of TRAIL-induced apoptosis in LNCaP cells appears to be mediated by Akt through the inhibition of BID cleavage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10767-10774
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 6 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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