Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) activates caspases in human prostate cancer cells through sigma 1 receptor

Dibash Das, Leah Persaud, Jordan Dejoie, Mireille Happy, Oliver Brannigan, Dayenny De Jesus, Moira Sauane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-based therapy is currently evaluated in clinical studies as a tumor cell-selective pro-apoptotic approach. Unfortunately, many clinical studies have shown that cancer cells acquire TRAIL resistance and finally avoid TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Therefore, defining the mechanisms that permit TRAIL to activate apoptosis is critical for the development of strategies that maximize the potential effectiveness of TRAIL in clinical applications. This study aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying TRAIL-induced apoptosis and unraveling signaling pathways that could revert sensitivity to apoptosis stimuli. Our current study demonstrates for the first time that Sigma 1 Receptor (Sig1R), a ligand-regulated protein chaperone, contributes to TRAIL induction of apoptosis. We show that Sig1R agonist (+)-SKF10047 action or increasing Sig1R expression, significantly reduced apoptosis by TRAIL in prostate cell lines, indicating the importance of Sig1R and signifying that higher levels of Sig1R in prostate cancer cells make them more resistant to TRAIL treatment. Here we show that Sig1R is critically involved in TRAIL-induced caspase activation. Furthermore, we show that Sig1R protein is degraded upon TRAIL treatment. Knockdown of Sig1R, by siRNA transfection increased the sensitivity of breast cancer cells to TRAIL. These results indicate that Sig1R could represent a promising molecule to sensitize human breast cancers to TRAIL. Collectively, these studies define Sig1R as a key mediator of TRAIL induction of cancer-specific killing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-323
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - 5 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Cancer
  • Caspases
  • Sigma 1 receptor
  • Tumor necrosis factor


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