The inhibitors of apoptosis proteins are implicated in promoting cancer cells survival and resistance toward immune surveillance and chemotherapy. Second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (SMAC) mimetics are novel compounds developed to mimic the inhibitory effect of the endogenous SMAC/DIABLO on these IAPs. Here, we examined the potential effects of the novel SMAC mimetic BV6 on different human cancer cell lines. Our results indicated that BV6 was able to induce cell death in different human cancer cell lines. Mechanistically, BV6 dose dependently induced degradation of IAPs, including cIAP1 and cIAP2. This was coincided with activating the non-canonical NF -kappa B (NF-κB) pathway, as indicated by stabilizing NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) for p100 processing to p52. More interestingly, BV6 was able to sensitize some of the resistant cancer cell lines to apoptosis induced by the death ligands tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) that are produced by different cells of the immune system. Such cell death enhancement was mediated by inducing an additional cleavage of caspase-9 to augment that of caspase-8 induced by death ligands. This eventually led to more processing of the executioner caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). In conclusion, therapeutic targeting of IAPs by BV6 might be an effective approach to enhance cancer regression induced by immune system. Our data also open up the future possibility of using BV6 in combination with other antitumor therapies to overcome cancer drug resistance.
Keywords: BV6; Second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases; TNF; TRAIL; apoptosis.