The Journal of biological chemistry

KLF6 induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells through up-regulation of ATF3.

PMID 18755691


KLF6 (Kruppel-like factor 6) is a zinc finger transcription factor and a tumor suppressor that is frequently mutated in prostate cancer. KLF6 suppresses tumor growth and induces apoptosis in cancer cells through mechanisms still not defined. Here we show that KLF6 induces apoptosis in prostate cancer cells by ATF3 (activating transcription factor 3) expression. KLF6 binds directly to and activates the ATF3 promoter. ATF3 induced apoptosis when ectopically expressed in cells, whereas knockdown of ATF3 by small interference RNA blocked KLF6-induced apoptosis. KLF6 mutants derived from clinical prostate cancers failed to activate the ATF3 promoter and were unable to induce apoptosis. Furthermore, stress conditions (exposure to staurosporine and hypoxia induced by sodium azide) caused significant increase in ATF3 expression and induced apoptosis, whereas knockdown of KLF6 by small interference RNA blocked the increase of ATF3 as well as the induction of apoptosis in these conditions. Thus, ATF3 is a key mediator of KLF6-induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells.