Elevated pressure enhanced trail-induced apoptosis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells via erk1/2-inactivation

Eunyoung Hong, Eunil Lee, Joonhee Kim, Daeho Kwon, Yongchul Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


The high frequency of intrinsic resistance to TNF-related apoptosisinducing ligand (TRAIL) in tumor cell lines has necessitated the development of strategies to sensitize tumors to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We previously showed that elevated pressure applied as a mechanical stressor enhanced TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in human lung carcinoma cells in vitro and in vivo. This study focused on the effect of elevated pressure on the sensitization of TRAIL-resistant cells and the underlying mechanism. We observed elevated pressure-induced sensitization to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in Hep3B cells, accompanied by the activation of several caspases and the mitochondrial signaling pathway. Interestingly, the enhanced apoptosis induced by elevated pressure was correlated with suppression of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation and CREB without any change to other MAPKs. Phosphorylation of Bcl-2-associated death promoter (BAD) also decreased, leading to inhibition of the mitochondrial pathway. To confirm whether the activation of pERK1/2 plays a key role in the TRAIL-sensitizing effect of elevated pressure, Hep3B cells were pre-treated with the ERK1/2-specific inhibitor PD98059 instead of elevated pressure. Co-treatment with PD98059 and TRAIL augmented TRAIL-induced apoptosis and decreased BAD phosphorylation. The inhibition of ERK1/2 activation by elevated pressure and PD98059 also reduced BH3 interacting-domain death agonist (BID), thereby amplifying apoptotic stress at the mitochondrial level. Our results suggest that elevated pressure enhances TRAIL-induced apoptosis of Hep3B cells via specific suppression of ERK1/2 activation among MAPKs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-548
Number of pages14
JournalCellular and Molecular Biology Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 2015.


  • Apoptosis
  • BAD
  • CREB
  • ERK1/2
  • Elevated pressure
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Mechanical stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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