TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induces apoptosis through the death receptors (DRs) 4 and/or 5 expressed on the cell surface. Multiple clinical trials are underway to evaluate the antitumor activity of recombinant human TRAIL and agonistic antibodies to DR4 or DR5. However, their therapeutic potential is limited by the high frequency of cancer resistance. Here we provide evidence demonstrating the role of H-Ras in TRAIL receptor mediated apoptosis. By analyzing the genome wide mRNA expression data of the NCI60 cancer cell lines, we found that H-Ras expression was consistently upregulated in TRAIL-resistant cell lines. By contrast, no correlation was found between TRAIL sensitivity and K-Ras expression levels or their mutational profiles. Notably, H-Ras upregulation associated with a surface deficiency of TRAIL death receptors. Selective inhibition of H-Ras activity in TRAIL-resistant cells restored the surface expression of both DR4 and DR5 without changing their total protein levels. The resulting cells became highly susceptible to both TRAIL and agonistic DR5 antibody, whereas K-Ras inhibition had little or no effect on TRAIL-induced apoptosis, indicating H-Ras plays a distinct role in the regulation of TRAIL death receptors. Further studies are warranted to determine the therapeutic potential of H-Ras-specific inhibitors in combination with TRAIL receptor agonists.
Chen, J. J., Bozza, W. P., Di, X., Zhang, Y., Hallett, W., & Zhang, B. (2014). H-Ras regulation of TRAIL death receptor mediated apoptosis. Oncotarget, 5(13), 5125–5137. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2091