Overcoming tumor resistance to anti-cancer agent TRAIL

March 22, 2010

The TRAIL ligand is a promising anticancer agent that preferentially kills tumor cells without apparent damage to healthy cells. Many cancers exhibit resistance to TRAIL, however, thus limiting its therapeutic potential. According to a study in the March 22 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, small molecules known to block Mcl-1 (induced myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein) might represent a suitable means to overcome TRAIL resistance.

Researchers know that TRAIL-induced cell death entirely depends on the presence of Bax, which is a member of the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins and is often lost in cells for various reasons. Despite the expression of Bak, another that promotes dell death, Bax-deficient cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced death.

Peter Daniel (Humboldt University, Germany) and colleagues investigate the role of two Bcl-2 proteins—Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL—that keep Bak in check. The team's findings show that blocking Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL overcame resistance to TRAIL-induced cell death in bax-deficient cells and enabled TRAIL to activate Bak. Blocking Bak inhibitors like Mcl-1 appears to be a promising strategy in limiting the resistance of cancers to .

Explore further: Scientists find cancer cell defense method

More information: Gillissen, B., et al. 2010. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.200912070

Related Stories

New therapeutic target for melanoma identified

April 16, 2009

A protein called Mcl-1 plays a critical role in melanoma cell resistance to a form of apoptosis called anoikis, according to research published this week in Molecular Cancer Research.

Recommended for you

Ancient walnut forests linked to languages, trade routes

September 4, 2015

If Persian walnut trees could talk, they might tell of the numerous traders who moved along the Silk Roads' thousands of miles over thousands of years, carrying among their valuable merchandise the seeds that would turn into ...

Huddling rats behave as a 'super-organism'

September 3, 2015

Rodents huddle together when it is cold, they separate when it is warm, and at moderate temperatures they cycle between the warm center and the cold edges of the group. In a new study published in PLOS Computational Biology, ...

Fighting explosives pollution with plants

September 3, 2015

Biologists at the University of York have taken an important step in making it possible to clean millions of hectares of land contaminated by explosives.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.