PloS one

Induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress response by the indole-3-carbinol cyclic tetrameric derivative CTet in human breast cancer cell lines.

PMID 22905241


Indole-3-carbinol and its metabolic products are considered promising chemopreventive and anticancer agents. Previously we have shown that the indole-3-carbinol cyclic tetrameric derivative CTet induces autophagy and inhibits cell proliferation via inhibition of Akt activity and overexpression of p21/CDKN1A and GADD45A, in both estrogen receptor-positive (MCF-7) and triple negative (MDA-MB-231) breast cancer cell lines. In the present study, we further characterize the autophagic response and investigate the mechanism through which CTet regulates these events. Analysis of gene expression microarray data and subsequent confirmation by quantitative real-time PCR, showed that CTet is able to induce up-regulation of key signaling molecules involved in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response (e.g. DDIT3/CHOP, CHAC1, ATF3, HSPA5/BiP/GRP78, CEBPB, ASNS) and autophagy (e.g. MAP1LC3B), in both MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Moreover, the monitoring of Xbp-1 splicing confirmed the activation of IRE1/Xbp-1 ER stress response branch after CTet treatment. The role of autophagic processes (known to be induced by ER stress) was investigated further through ATG5 gene silencing and pharmacological inhibition of AVOs formation. CTet was shown to induce an autophagy-related cell death. Moreover, CTet-treated cells stained with Hoechst/PI revealed the presence of necrotic processes without evidence of apoptosis. The ER stress response was identified as the main upstream molecular mechanism through which CTet acts in both hormone-responsive and triple-negative breast cancer cells. Because of its important role in cancer development, ER stress is a potential target in cancer therapy. The abiltiy of CTet to induce ER stress response and subsequently activate a death program in tumor cells confirms this molecule as a promising anticancer agent.

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