Dual apoptotic effect of Xrel3 c-Rel/NF-κB homolog in human cervical cancer cells


Corresponding author. University of Ottawa Heart Institute, 40 Ruskin Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Y 4W7. mshehata@ottawaheart.ca


Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting a woman's reproductive organs. Despite its frequency and recurrence, the death rate has been declining over the past 40 years, due to early detection and treatment. In a previous report [Shehata Marlene, Shehata Marian, Shehata Fady, Pater Alan. Apoptosis effects of Xrel3 c-Rel/Nuclear factor-kappa B homolog in human cervical cancer cells. Cell Biology International, in press], we studied the role of the NF-κB gene family in HeLa human cervical cancer cells, using the Xrel3 c-Rel homologue of Xenopus laevis. These results showed that the expression of Xrel3/c-Rel slowed cell growth, consistent with an upregulated expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 and the activated poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) apoptosis effector. However, in this report, we examined more apoptotic and anti-apoptotic factors acting upstream and downstream in apoptosis pathways after cisplatin treatment of HeLa cervical cancer cells. After 1 μM cisplatin treatment, Xrel3 had an anti-apoptotic effect, based on significantly lower levels of apoptotic proteins, including caspase-8, caspase-3 and p21. Anti-apoptotic BAG-1 isoforms were upregulated. After 5 μM cisplatin treatment, expression of HeLa Xrel3 had an apoptotic effect, based on significantly increased expression of the cell cycle inhibitor p21 and apoptotic proteins, including cleaved PARP, caspase-8, and caspase-3. However, anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL were elevated and the cell cycle regulator cyclin D1 was slightly upregulated with both 1 and 5 μM cisplatin treatment. The HPV E6 oncoprotein showed no significant changes. These results support previous conclusions on the potential anti-apoptotic effects of c-Rel/NF-κB in mild stress environments, as opposed to the apoptotic effects associated with high stress conditions [Lake BB, Ford R, Kao KR. Xrel3 is required for head development in Xenopus laevis. Development 2001; 128(2), 263–73.]. Thus, c-Rel/NF-κB may potentially be of clinical significance in chemotherapy.