TRAIL-R4 Promotes Tumor Growth and Resistance to Apoptosis in Cervical Carcinoma HeLa Cells through AKT Academic Article uri icon


  • TRAIL/Apo2L is a pro-apoptotic ligand of the TNF family that engages the apoptotic machinery through two pro-apoptotic receptors, TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2. This cell death program is tightly controlled by two antagonistic receptors, TRAIL-R3 and TRAIL-R4, both devoid of a functional death domain, an intracellular region of the receptor, required for the recruitment and the activation of initiator caspases. Upon TRAIL-binding, TRAIL-R4 forms a heteromeric complex with the agonistic receptor TRAIL-R2 leading to reduced caspase-8 activation and apoptosis.We provide evidence that TRAIL-R4 can also exhibit, in a ligand independent manner, signaling properties in the cervical carcinoma cell line HeLa, through Akt. Ectopic expression of TRAIL-R4 in HeLa cells induced morphological changes, with cell rounding, loss of adherence and markedly enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and tumor growth in vivo. Disruption of the PI3K/Akt pathway using the pharmacological inhibitor LY294002, siRNA targeting the p85 regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase, or by PTEN over-expression, partially restored TRAIL-mediated apoptosis in these cells. Moreover, the Akt inhibitor, LY294002, restituted normal cell proliferation index in HeLa cells expressing TRAIL-R4.Altogether, these results indicate that, besides its ability to directly inhibit TRAIL-induced cell death at the membrane, TRAIL-R4 can also trigger the activation of signaling pathways leading to cell survival and proliferation in HeLa cells. Our findings raise the possibility that TRAIL-R4 may contribute to cervical carcinogenesis.


  • Lalaoui, N
  • Morlé, A
  • Merino, Delphine
  • Jacquemin, G
  • Iessi, E
  • Morizot, A
  • Shirley, S
  • Robert, B
  • Solary, E
  • Garrido, C
  • Micheau, O

publication date

  • 2011

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