Dual Akt and Bcl-2 inhibition induces cell-type specific modulation of apoptotic and autophagic signaling in castration resistant prostate cancer cell lines
AuthorAbdik, Ezgi Avsar
Berger, Martin R.
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Background Cancer cell survival depends on the cross-regulation between apoptosis and autophagy which share common signaling pathways including PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Bcl-2. The aim of this study was to elucidate the modulation patterns between apoptosis and autophagy following dual inhibition by Akt inhibitor erufosine and Bcl-2 inhibitor ABT-737 in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) cell lines, PC-3 (Bax+) and DU-145 (Bax-). Methods and Results Cell cycle progression, apoptotic and autophagic signaling were examined by flow cytometry, multi-caspase assay, Hoechst staining, acridine orange staining of acidic vesicular organelles (AVOs), qRT-PCR and Western Blot. Dual inhibition increased G2/M arrest in PC-3 and DU-145, but not in the healthy prostate epithelium cells, PNT-1A. Only in PC-3, dual inhibition induced synergistic apoptotic and additive autophagic effects. In DU-145 and PNT-1A cells, ABT-737 did not display any remarkable effect on multicaspase activity and erufosine and ABT-737, neither alone nor in combination induced AVOs. By dual inhibition, AKT, BCL-2 and NF-kappa B gene expressions were downregulated in PC-3, both ATG-5 and BECLIN-1 gene expressions were upregulated in DU-145 but Beclin-1 protein expression was substantially reduced in both CRPC cells. Dual inhibition-induced synergistic multicaspase activation in PC-3 degrades and disrupts autophagic activity of Beclin-1, enhancing caspase-dependent apoptosis. However, in DU-145, following dual inhibition, rate of multicaspase induction and apoptosis are lower but autophagy is completely abolished despite markedly increased BECLIN-1 gene expression. Conclusion In conclusion, antineoplastic drug combinations may display cell-type specific modulation of apoptotic and autophagic signaling and lack of protective autophagy may not necessarily indicate increased chemotherapeutic sensitivity in heterogenous tumor subpopulations.