Functional expression of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand in human colonic adenocarcinoma cells

Lab Invest. 2002 Sep;82(9):1111-9. doi: 10.1097/01.lab.0000027838.69455.39.


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) can induce apoptosis in various transformed cell lines. Therefore, we investigated TRAIL sensitivity, TRAIL-induced nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation, and expression of TRAIL in human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines (HT-29, LS180, SK-CO-1). All four TRAIL receptors (TRAIL-R1 through TRAIL-R4) are expressed in these cell lines. TRAIL sensitivity was assessed by assay of cell viability. Cancer cell viabilities were 83 +/- 3.1% (HT-29), 90 +/- 4.3% (LS180), and 88 +/- 6.3% (SK-CO-1) at 24 hours after the addition of 100 ng/ml TRAIL, indicating that these cell lines were relatively resistant to TRAIL. Activation of NF-kappaB was variably influenced by TRAIL administration, with no consistent tendency among the cell lines, indicating that TRAIL-induced NF-kappaB activation might be cell-type dependent. In contrast, TRAIL was expressed in the human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines by Western blotting and RT-PCR. Increased expression of TRAIL on tumor cells was observed by flow cytometry after cytokine stimulation (IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha) or the addition of chemotherapeutic agents (camptothecin, doxolubicin hydrochloride). TRAIL on HT-29 cells was functional and able to induce apoptosis in Jurkat cells. Jurkat cell viability was increased by the addition of TRAILR1-R4-Fc. In the presence of various cytokines or chemotherapeutic agents, functional TRAIL is expressed on the surface of tumor cells, and this expressed TRAIL might contribute to tumor immune privilege by inducing apoptosis of activated human lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / chemistry*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Camptothecin / pharmacology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / physiology
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / analysis
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • NF-kappa B
  • Receptors, TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFRSF10A protein, human
  • TNFRSF10B protein, human
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Doxorubicin
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Camptothecin