The BCL-2 family proteins are central regulators of apoptosis. However, cells deficient for BAX and BAK or overexpressing BCL-2 still succumb to oxidative stress upon DNA damage or matrix detachment. Here, we show that ΔNp63α overexpression protects cells from oxidative stress induced by oxidants, DNA damage, anoikis, or ferroptosis-inducing agents. Conversely, ΔNp63α deficiency increases oxidative stress. Mechanistically, ΔNp63α orchestrates redox homeostasis through transcriptional control of glutathione biogenesis, utilization, and regeneration. Analysis of a lung squamous cell carcinoma dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) reveals that TP63 amplification/overexpression upregulates the glutathione metabolism pathway in primary human tumors. Strikingly, overexpression of ΔNp63α promotes clonogenic survival of p53-/-Bax-/-Bak-/- cells against DNA damage. Furthermore, co-expression of BCL-2 and ΔNp63α confers clonogenic survival against matrix detachment, disrupts the luminal clearance of mammary acini, and promotes cancer metastasis. Our findings highlight the need for a simultaneous blockade of apoptosis and oxidative stress to promote long-term cellular well-being.
Keywords: BCL-2; ROS; TP63; apoptosis; ferroptosis; glutathione metabolism; necrosis; oxidative stress; programmed necrotic death; redox.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.