Cell death & disease

CD40 ligand induces RIP1-dependent, necroptosis-like cell death in low-grade serous but not serous borderline ovarian tumor cells.

PMID 26313915


Ovarian high-grade serous carcinomas (HGSCs) and invasive low-grade serous carcinomas (LGSCs) are considered to be distinct entities. In particular, LGSCs are thought to arise from non-invasive serous borderline ovarian tumors (SBOTs) and show poor responsiveness to conventional chemotherapy. The pro-apoptotic effects of CD40 ligand (CD40L) have been demonstrated in HGSC, though the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. Conversely, the therapeutic potential of the CD40L-CD40 system has yet to be evaluated in LGSC. We now show that CD40 protein is focally expressed on tumor cells in two of five primary LGSCs compared with no expression in eight primary SBOTs. Treatment with CD40L or agonistic CD40 antibody decreased the viability of LGSC-derived MPSC1 and VOA1312 cells, but not SBOT3.1 cells. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting CD40 was used to show that it is required for these reductions in cell viability. CD40L treatment increased cleaved caspase-3 levels in MPSC1 cells though, surprisingly, neither pan-caspase inhibitor nor caspase-3 siRNA reversed or even attenuated CD40L-induced cell death. In addition, CD40-induced cell death was not affected by knockdown of the mitochondrial proteins apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF) and endonuclease G (EndoG). Interestingly, CD40L-induced cell death was blocked by necrostatin-1, an inhibitor of receptor-interacting protein 1 (RIP1), and attenuated by inhibitors of RIP3 (GSK'872) or MLKL (mixed lineage kinase domain-like; necrosulfonamide). Our results indicate that the upregulation of CD40 may be relatively common in LGSC and that CD40 activation induces RIP1-dependent, necroptosis-like cell death in LGSC cells.