Overcoming tumor resistance to anti-cancer agent TRAIL

Mar 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: Researchers discover new strategy germs use to invade cells

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New therapeutic target for melanoma identified

Apr 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

Researchers discover new strategy germs use to invade cells

18 hours ago

The hospital germ Pseudomonas aeruginosa wraps itself into the membrane of human cells: A team led by Dr. Thorsten Eierhoff and Junior Professor Dr. Winfried Römer from the Institute of Biology II, members of the Cluster ...

Progress in the fight against harmful fungi

18 hours ago

A group of researchers at the Max F. Perutz Laboratories has created one of the three world's largest gene libraries for the Candida glabrata yeast, which is harmful to humans. Molecular analysis of the Candida ...

How steroid hormones enable plants to grow

Aug 19, 2014

Plants can adapt extremely quickly to changes in their environment. Hormones, chemical messengers that are activated in direct response to light and temperature stimuli help them achieve this. Plant steroid ...

Surviving the attack of killer microbes

Aug 19, 2014

The ability to find food and avoid predation dictates whether most organisms live to spread their genes to the next generation or die trying. But for some species of microbe, a unique virus changes the rules ...

Histones and the mystery of cell proliferation

Aug 19, 2014

Before cells divide, they create so much genetic material that it must be wound onto spools before the two new cells can split apart. These spools are actually proteins called histones, and they must multiply ...

User comments : 0