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Biochemistry - Chemistry - Oncology

Transient Transfection of a Wild-Type p53 Gene Triggers Resveratrol-Induced Apoptosis in Cancer Cells
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Author: Danielly Cristiny Ferraz da Costa et al.

by Danielly Cristiny Ferraz da Costa, Fabiana Alves Casanova, Julia Quarti, Maitê Santos Malheiros, Daniel Sanches, Patricia Souza dos Santos, Eliane Fialho, Jerson L. Silva

Resveratrol is a promising chemopreventive agent that mediates many cellular targets involved in cancer signaling pathways. p53 has been suggested to play a role in the anticancer properties of resveratrol. We investigated resveratrol-induced cytotoxicity in H1299 cells, which are non-small lung cancer cells that have a partial deletion of the gene that encodes the p53 protein. The results for H1299 cells were compared with those for three cell lines that constitutively express wild-type p53: breast cancer MCF-7, adenocarcinomic alveolar basal epithelia A549 and non-small lung cancer H460. Cell viability assays revealed that resveratrol reduced the viability of all four of these cell lines in a dose- and time-dependent manner. MCF-7, A549 and H460 cells were more sensitive to resveratrol than were H1299 cells when exposed to the drug for 24 h at concentrations above 100 µM. Resveratrol also increased the p53 protein levels in MCF-7 cells without altering the p53 mRNA levels, suggesting a post-translational modulation of the protein. The resveratrol-induced cytotoxicity in these cells was partially mediated by p53 and involved the activation of caspases 9 and 7 and the cleavage of PARP. In H1299 cells, resveratrol-induced cytotoxicity was less pronounced and (in contrast to MCF-7 cells) cell death was not accompanied by caspase activation. These findings are consistent with the observation that MCF-7 cells were positively labeled by TUNEL following exposure to 100 µM resveratrol whereas H1299 cells under similar conditions were not labeled by TUNEL. The transient transfection of a wild-type p53-GFP gene caused H1299 cells to become more responsive to the pro-apoptotic properties of resveratrol, similarly to findings in the p53-positive MCF-7 cells. Our results suggest a possible therapeutic strategy based on the use of resveratrol for the treatment of tumors that are typically unresponsive to conventional therapies because of the loss of normal p53 function.