Resveratrol Sensitizes Melanomas to TRAIL Through Modulation of Antiapoptotic Gene Expression

Ivanov, Vladimir N.; Hei, Tom K.; Partridge, Michael A.; Johnson, Geoffrey E.; Huang, Sarah X. L.

Although many human melanomas express the death receptors TRAIL-R2/DR5 or TRAIL-R1/DR4 on cell surface, they often exhibit resistance to exogenous TRAIL. One of the main contributors to TRAIL-resistance of melanoma cells is upregulation of transcription factors STAT3 and NF-κB that control the expression of antiapoptotic genes, including cFLIP and Bcl-xL. On the other hand, the JNK-cJun pathway is involved in the negative regulation of cFLIP (a caspase-8 inhibitor) expression. Our observations indicated that resveratrol, a polyphenolic phytoalexin, decreased STAT3 and NF-κB activation, while activating JNK-cJun that finally suppressed expression of cFLIP and Bcl-xL proteins and increased sensitivity to exogenous TRAIL in DR5-positive melanomas. Interestingly, resveratrol did not increase surface expression of DR5 in human melanomas, while γ-irradiation or sodium arsenite treatment substantially upregulated DR5 expression. Hence, an initial increase in DR5 surface expression (either by γ-irradiation or arsenite), and subsequent downregulation of antiapoptotic cFLIP and Bcl-xL (by resveratrol), appear to constitute an efficient approach to reactivate apoptotic death pathways in TRAIL-resistant human melanomas. In spite of partial suppression of mitochondrial function and the mitochondrial death pathway, melanoma cells still retain the potential to undergo the DR5-mediated, caspase-8-dependent death pathway that could be accelerated by either an increase in DR5 surface expression or suppression of cFLIP. Taken together, these results suggest that resveratrol, in combination with TRAIL, may have a significant efficacy in the treatment of human melanomas.


Also Published In

Experimental Cell Research

More About This Work

Academic Units
Center for Radiological Research
Academic Press
Published Here
August 11, 2015