Research Papers:

This article has been corrected. Correction in: Oncotarget. 2018; 9:24869.

Molecular crosstalk between ferroptosis and apoptosis: emerging role of ER stress-induced p53-independent PUMA expression

Se Hoon Hong, Dae-Hee Lee, Young-Sun Lee, Min Jee Jo, Yoon A Jeong, William T. Kwon, Haroon A. Choudry, David L. Bartlett and Yong J. Lee _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:115164-115178. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23046

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Se Hoon Hong1,*, Dae-Hee Lee2,3,*, Young-Sun Lee1, Min Jee Jo2, Yoon A Jeong2, William T. Kwon1, Haroon A. Choudry1, David L. Bartlett1 and Yong J. Lee1

1Department of Surgery, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

2Brain Korea 21 Program for Biomedicine Science, Korea University College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul 02841, Republic of Korea

3Division of Oncology/Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University Medical Center, Korea University, Seoul 08308, Republic of Korea

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Yong J. Lee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: ferroptosis; apoptosis; PUMA; ER; p53

Received: August 15, 2017    Accepted: November 26, 2017    Published: December 08, 2017


Ferroptosis is a type of programmed cell death that depends on iron and is characterized by the accumulation of lipid peroxides. In the present study, we investigated the nature of the interplay between ferroptosis and other forms of cell death such as apoptosis. Human pancreatic cancer PANC-1 and BxPC-3 and human colorectal cancer HCT116 cells were treated with ferroptotic agents such as erastin and artesunate (ART) in combination with the apoptotic agent tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). We observed synergistic interaction of erastin or ART with TRAIL as determined by cell death assay, caspase activation, poly [ADP-ribose] polymerase 1 (PARP-1) cleavage, flow cytometry analysis, and lipid peroxidation assay. Moreover, erastin and ART induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and promoted p53 upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) expression via C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP). Synergy of erastin/ART and TRAIL was abolished in PUMA-deficient HCT116 cells and CHOP-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts, but not in p53-deficient HCT116 cells. The results suggest the involvement of the p53-independent CHOP/PUMA axis in response to ferroptosis inducers, which may play a key role in ferroptotic agent-mediated sensitization to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.

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