FOXO3a mediates the androgen-dependent regulation of FLIP and contributes to TRAIL-induced apoptosis of LNCaP cells

Oncogene. 2008 Jul 24;27(32):4422-33. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.80. Epub 2008 Apr 7.


Androgen-withdrawal-induced apoptosis (AWIA) is deregulated in androgen refractory prostate cancer. Androgens have been shown to positively regulate expression of the antiapoptotic FADD-like interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme (FLICE)-like inhibitory protein (FLIP), and reduced FLIP expression precedes apoptosis after androgen withdrawal. Here, we show that FLIP protein expression is downregulated in castrated rats, while in LNCaP cells, androgens regulate FLIP in a manner that is dependent on phosphoinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt signaling. Specifically, treatment of LNCaP cells with LY294002, or expression of either PTEN or a non-phosphorylatable form of FOXO3a (FOXO3aTM), downregulates FLIP protein and mRNA. Conversely, treatment with androgens in the absence of PI3/Akt signaling, or following expression of FOXO3aTM, leads to increased FLIP expression. A FOXO3a binding site was identified in the FLIP promoter and shown necessary for the combined effects of androgens and FOXO3a on FLIP transcription. FOXO3a binds the androgen receptor, suggesting that the transcriptional synergy depends on an interaction between these proteins. Finally, LNCaP cells are sensitized to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by PTEN or LY294002, and rescued by androgens. FOXO3aTM also sensitizes cells to androgen-inhibited TRAIL apoptosis. Androgen rescue was diminished when either FOXO3a or FLIP was reduced by siRNA. These data support a role for FOXO3a in AWIA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androgens / physiology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Binding Sites
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / analysis
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / genetics*
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromones / pharmacology
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morpholines / pharmacology
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / physiology
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / physiology
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Prostate / chemistry
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Receptors, Androgen / analysis
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / pharmacology*


  • Androgens
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein
  • Chromones
  • FOXO3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Box Protein O3
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Morpholines
  • Phosphoinositide-3 Kinase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • PTEN protein, human