Characterization of MUDENG, a novel anti-apoptotic protein

Oncogenesis. 2016 May 2;5(5):e221. doi: 10.1038/oncsis.2016.30.


MUDENG (Mu-2-related death-inducing gene, MuD) is revealed to be involved in cell death signaling. Astrocytes, the major glial cell type in the central nervous system, are a source of brain tumors. In this study, we examined MuD expression and function in human astroglioma cells. Stimulation of U251-MG cells with tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) resulted in a 40% decrease in cell viability and a 33% decrease in MuD protein levels, although not in MuD mRNA levels. To study the functional relevance of MuD expression, stable transfectants expressing high levels of MuD were generated. Stimulation of these transfectants with TRAIL resulted in enhanced cell survival (77% for stable and 46% for control transfectants). Depletion of MuD led to a marked reduction upon TRAIL stimulation in cell viability (22% in MuD-depleted cells and 54% in control cells). In addition, we observed that MuD depletion increased the susceptibility of the cells to TRAIL by enhancing the cleavage of caspase-3/-9 and BH3-interacting domain death agonist (Bid). A unique 25-kDa fragment of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) lacking BH4 was observed 60-180 min post TRAIL treatment in MuD-depleted cells, suggesting that Bcl-2 is converted from its anti-apoptotic form to the truncated pro-apoptotic form. Importantly, the TRAIL-mediated decrease in cell viability in MuD-depleted cells was abrogated upon Bid depletion, indicating that the role of MuD in apoptotic signaling takes place at the Bid and Bcl-2 junction. MuD localizes predominantly in the endoplasmic reticulum and partly in the mitochondria and its amounts are reduced 6 h post TRAIL stimulation, presumably via caspase-3-mediated MuD cleavage. Collectively, these results suggest that MuD, a novel signaling protein, not only possesses an anti-apoptotic function but may also constitute an important target for the design of ideal candidates for combinatorial treatment strategies for glioma cells.