Research Papers:

H-Ras regulation of TRAIL death receptor mediated apoptosis

Jun-Jie Chen _, William P. Bozza, Xu Di, Yaqin Zhang, William Hallett and Baolin Zhang

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:5125-5137. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2091

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Jun-Jie Chen1,2, William P. Bozza1, Xu Di1, Yaqin Zhang1, William Hallett1 and Baolin Zhang1

1 Division of Therapeutic Proteins, Office of Biotechnology Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug Administration, Bethesda, Maryland, United States

2 Department of Medical Research, E-DA Hospital, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung 824, Taiwan, Republic of China


Baolin Zhang, email:

Keywords: H-Ras, death receptors, TRAIL, apoptosis, cancer drug resistance

Received: March 5, 2014 Accepted: June 10, 2014 Published: June 11, 2014


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis through the death receptors (DRs) 4 and/or 5 expressed on the cell surface. Multiple clinical trials are underway to evaluate the antitumor activity of recombinant human TRAIL and agonistic antibodies to DR4 or DR5. However, their therapeutic potential is limited by the high frequency of cancer resistance. Here we provide evidence demonstrating the role of H-Ras in TRAIL receptor mediated apoptosis. By analyzing the genome wide mRNA expression data of the NCI60 cancer cell lines, we found that H-Ras expression was consistently upregulated in TRAIL-resistant cell lines. By contrast, no correlation was found between TRAIL sensitivity and K-Ras expression levels or their mutational profiles. Notably, H-Ras upregulation associated with a surface deficiency of TRAIL death receptors. Selective inhibition of H-Ras activity in TRAIL-resistant cells restored the surface expression of both DR4 and DR5 without changing their total protein levels. The resulting cells became highly susceptible to both TRAIL and agonistic DR5 antibody, whereas K-Ras inhibition had little or no effect on TRAIL-induced apoptosis, indicating H-Ras plays a distinct role in the regulation of TRAIL death receptors. Further studies are warranted to determine the therapeutic potential of H-Ras-specific inhibitors in combination with TRAIL receptor agonists.

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