Avicins, a family of triterpene electrophiles originally identified as potent inhibitors of tumor cell growth, have been shown to be pleiotropic compounds that also possess antioxidant, anti-mutagenic, and anti-inflammatory activities. We previously showed that Jurkat cells, which express a high level of Fas, are very sensitive to treatment with avicins. Thus, we hypothesized that avicins may induce cell apoptosis by activation of the Fas pathway. By using a series of cell lines deficient in cell death receptors, we demonstrated that upon avicin D treatment, Fas translocates to the cholesterol- and sphingolipid-enriched membrane microdomains known as lipid rafts. In the lipid rafts, Fas interacts with Fas-associated death domain (FADD) and Caspase-8 to form death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and thus mediates cell apoptosis. Interfering with lipid raft organization by using a cholesterol-depleting compound, methyl-b-cyclodextrin, not only prevents the clustering of Fas and its DISC complex but also reduces the sensitivity of the cells to avicin D. Avicin D activates Fas pathways independent of the association between extracellular Fas ligands and Fas receptors. A deficiency in Fas and its downstream signaling molecules leads to the resistance of the cells to avicin D treatment. Taken together, our results demonstrate that avicin D triggers the redistribution of Fas in the membrane lipid rafts, where Fas activates receptor-mediated cell death. © 2009 Xu et al.
Xu, Z. X., Ding, T., Haridas, V., Connolly, F., & Gutterman, J. U. (2009). Avicin D, a plant triterpenoid, induces cell apoptosis by recruitment of fas and downstream signaling molecules into lipid rafts. PLoS ONE, 4(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008532