Taxol induces caspase-10-dependent apoptosis

Soo Jung Park, Ching Haung Wu, John D. Gordon, Xiaoling Zhong, Armaghan Emami, Ahmad R. Safa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Taxol (paclitaxel) is known to inhibit cell growth and trigger significant apoptosis in various cancer cells. Although taxol induces apoptosis of cancer cells, its exact mechanism of action is not yet known. In this study we investigated death receptors, FAS-associated death domain protein (FADD), the activation of caspases-10 and -8 as well as the downstream caspases, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in taxol-induced apoptosis in the CCRF-HSB-2 human lymphoblastic leukemia cell line. Pretreating the cells with neutralizing antibodies to Fas, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α receptor 1, or TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptors (DR4 and DR5) did not affect taxol-induced apoptosis, but transfection of the cells with a dominant negative FADD plasmid resulted in inhibition of taxol-induced apoptosis, revealing that taxol induces apoptosis independently of these death receptors but dependently on FADD. Furthermore, the drug induced activation of caspases-10, -8, -6, and -3, cleaved Bcl-2, Bid, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and lamin B, and down-regulated cellular levels of FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP) and X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP). However, despite the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria in taxol-treated cells, caspase-9 was not activated. Inhibitors of caspases-8, -6, or -3 partially inhibited taxol-induced apoptosis, whereas the caspase-10 inhibitor totally abrogated this process. Taxol-induced apoptosis was also associated with decreased mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and a significant increase in ROS generation. However, increased ROS production was not directly involved in taxol-triggered apoptosis. Therefore, these results demonstrate for the first time that taxol induces FADD-dependent apoptosis primarily through activation of caspase-10 but independently of death receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51057-51067
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number49
StatePublished - Dec 3 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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