Radiation-induced apoptosis mediated by retinoblastoma protein

Cai Bowen, Sarah Spiegel, Edward P. Gelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The role of the retinoblastoma gene product, RB, in transmitting the signals of apoptosis is unclear, but RB is considered to be antiapoptotic because RB mediates cell cycle arrest that also can interrupt intracellular signaling pathways leading to apoptosis. γ-Radiation can cause apoptosis, the process of programmed cell death, via several mechanisms including DNA damage, ceramide production, and the generation of free radical oxygen species. We investigated the effect of RB on radiation-induced apoptosis by restoring normal RB expression in DU-145 prostate cancer cells that have one deleted and one truncated RB gene. DU-145 cells are highly resistant to apoptosis induced either by radiation or by the addition of ceramide. Two independently derived RB-positive DU-145 derivative cell lines underwent apoptosis after irradiation or exposure to the cell permeable C2-ceramide. Apoptosis in the RB-positive cell lines was not associated with major changes in the cell cycle response to irradiation. RB-mediated apoptosis occurred in the absence of expression of caspases 8, 6, 3, and 7 and without detectable cleavage of poly(ADP)ribose polymerase. However, a specific inhibitor of serine proteases, Na-p-Tosyl-L-lysyl- chloromethyl ketone, inhibited radiation-induced apoptosis in DU-145 cells expressing RB. Radiation-induced apoptosis was preceded by an increase in JUN protein expression and accompanied by activation of the stress-related JUN kinase. Our data show that RB is proapoptotic in DU-145 cells and acts upstream of JUN expression and JNK activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3275-3281
Number of pages7
JournalCancer Research
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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