A3 adenosine receptor mediates apoptosis in in vitro RCC4-VHL human renal cancer cells by up-regulating AMID expression

J Urol. 2013 Jan;189(1):321-8. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2012.08.193. Epub 2012 Nov 19.


Purpose: Accumulating studies have shown that extracellular adenosine induces apoptosis in various cancer cells via diverse signaling pathways. We sought to understand adenosine induced apoptosis in human renal cancer cells and the underlying pathway.

Materials and methods: RCC4-VHL (European Collection of Animal Cell Cultures, Salisbury, United Kingdom), ACHN (Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer, Tohuku University, Aoba-ku, Sendai, Japan) and 786-O (ATCC®) human renal cancer cells were cultured. MTT assay, TUNEL staining, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot were done in cells untransfected and transfected with siRNA silencing the A(3) adenosine receptor targeted gene or the AMID targeted gene.

Results: Adenosine induced apoptosis in all cell types used in a concentration (1 to 10 mM) dependent manner. A similar effect was obtained with the A(3) adenosine receptor agonist 2-Cl-IB-MECA. Adenosine induced RCC4-VHL cell death was inhibited by the A(3) adenosine receptor inhibitor MRS1191 or by knocking down A(3) adenosine receptor or AMID. Adenosine up-regulated the expression of AMID mRNA and protein in RCC4-VHL cells, which was suppressed by A(3) adenosine receptor knockdown. Moreover, adenosine promoted AMID translocation from cytosol to nucleus.

Conclusions: Adenosine induces RCC4-VHL cell apoptosis by up-regulating AMID expression and accumulating AMID in the nucleus via A(3) adenosine receptor.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Receptor, Adenosine A3 / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation*
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein


  • AIFM2 protein, human
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Receptor, Adenosine A3
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein
  • VHL protein, human