The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL or Apo2L) and its receptors are members of the tumor necrosis factor superfamily. TRAIL triggers apoptosis by binding to its two proapoptotic receptors DR4 and DR5, a process which is negatively regulated by binding of TRAIL to its two decoy receptors TRID and TRUNDD. Here, we show that TRAIL effectively induces apoptosis in H460 human non-small-cell lung carcinoma cells via cleavage of caspases 8, 9, 7, 3, and BID, release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria, and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). However, overexpression of Bcl2 blocked TRAIL-induced apoptosis in H460 cells, which correlated with the Bcl2 protein levels. Importantly, the release of cytochrome c and cleavage of caspase 7 triggered by TRAIL were considerably blocked in Bcl2 overexpressing cells as compared to vector control cells. Moreover, inhibition of TRAIL-mediated cytochrome c release and caspase 7 activation by Bcl2 correlated with the inability of PARP to be cleaved and the inability of the Bcl2 transfectants to undergo apoptosis. Thus, these results suggest that Bcl2 can serve an anti-apoptotic function during TRAIL-dependent apoptosis by inhibiting the release of cytochrome c and activation of caspase 7, thereby blocking caspase 7-dependent cleavage of cellular substrates.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.