Axl promotes cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma survival through negative regulation of pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members

Papadakis, Emmanouil S., Cichoń, Monika A., Vyas, Jashmin J., Patel, Nakul, Ghali, Lucy ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3410-6615, Cerio, Rino, Storey, Alan and O'Toole, Edel A. (2011) Axl promotes cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma survival through negative regulation of pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 131 (2) . pp. 509-517. ISSN 0022-202X (doi:10.1038/jid.2010.326)

Abstract

Expression of Axl, a receptor tyrosine kinase, is increased in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Examination of a series of cutaneous SCC tumors revealed positive phospho-Akt (P-Akt) staining accompanied by weak TUNEL staining in Axl-positive tumors, suggesting an anti-apoptotic role for Axl in SCC survival. The role of Axl in UV-induced apoptosis was investigated in a cutaneous SCC cell line using retroviral short hairpin RNA sequences enabling stable Axl knock-down. We show that, although Axl knock-down has no effect on cell proliferation, it sensitizes cells to UV-induced apoptosis through increased activation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bad, a change in the conformation of Bax and Bak, release of cytochrome c into the cytosol, and activation of caspases. These events are accompanied by faster Akt dephosphorylation in UV-treated Axl knock-down cells and correlate with the degree of Axl knock-down. Treatment with the pan-caspase inhibitor zVAD-fmk partially rescued cells from UV-induced apoptosis but did not affect Bid cleavage or cytochrome c release, suggesting that cells die via the mitochondrial-mediated pathway. Thus, Axl confers resistance of SCC cells to apoptosis and displays potential as a target for therapeutic intervention in cutaneous SCC.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Natural Sciences > Biomarkers for Cancer group
Item ID: 11113
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Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 02 Jul 2013 06:24
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:27
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/11113

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