Background: Resveratrol, a naturally occurring phytopolyphenol compound, has attracted extensive interest in recent years because of its diverse pharmacological characteristics. Although resveratrol possesses chemopreventive properties against several cancers, the molecular mechanisms by which it inhibits cell growth and induces apoptosis have not been clearly understood. The present study was carried out to examine whether PI3K/AKT/FOXO pathway mediates the biological effects of resveratrol.
Methodology/principal findings: Resveratrol inhibited the phosphorylation of PI3K, AKT and mTOR. Resveratrol, PI3K inhibitors (LY294002 and Wortmannin) and AKT inhibitor alone slightly induced apoptosis in LNCaP cells. These inhibitors further enhanced the apoptosis-inducing potential of resveratrol. Overexpression of wild-type PTEN slightly induced apoptosis. Wild type PTEN and PTEN-G129E enhanced resveratrol-induced apoptosis, whereas PTEN-G129R had no effect on proapoptotic effects of resveratrol. Furthermore, apoptosis-inducing potential of resveratrol was enhanced by dominant negative AKT, and inhibited by wild-type AKT and constitutively active AKT. Resveratrol has no effect on the expression of FKHR, FKHRL1 and AFX genes. The inhibition of FOXO phosphorylation by resveratrol resulted in its nuclear translocation, DNA binding and transcriptional activity. The inhibition of PI3K/AKT pathway induced FOXO transcriptional activity resulting in induction of Bim, TRAIL, p27/KIP1, DR4 and DR5, and inhibition of cyclin D1. Similarly, resveratrol-induced FOXO transcriptional activity was further enhanced when activation of PI3K/AKT pathway was blocked. Over-expression of phosphorylation deficient mutants of FOXO proteins (FOXO1-TM, FOXO3A-TM and FOXO4-TM) induced FOXO transcriptional activity, which was further enhanced by resveratrol. Inhibition of FOXO transcription factors by shRNA blocked resveratrol-induced upregulation of Bim, TRAIL, DR4, DR5, p27/KIP1 and apoptosis, and inhibition of cyclin D1 by resveratrol.
Conclusion/significance: These data suggest that FOXO transcription factors mediate anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects of resveratrol, in part due to activation of extrinsic apoptosis pathway.