C6-ceramide is an exogenous short-chain ceramide which can induce apoptosis of multiple cancer cells. Salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma (SACC) is a common salivary gland cancer, which possesses of high rate of local recurrence and distant metastasis. The mechanism of ceramide-induced SACC-83 and SACC-LM cell apoptosis has not been revealed. In our study, gene expression microarray was used to discover that the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway, especially PRKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) pathway, was the major activated pathway after treatment of c6-ceramide. D1ER, an endoplasmic-reticulum-targeted Ca2+ indicator, was used to measure Ca2+ release from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) dynamically. We found that inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor 3 (IP3R3) was activated, leading to Ca2+ release from ER, soon after c6-ceramide treatment. IP3R3 silencing could block UPR, although it could not prevent SACC-83 and SACC-LM cells from apoptosis. Moreover, we found that C/EBP-homologous protein could upregulate in a UPR-independent way. Mitochondria outer membrane permeabilization might play an important role in inducing SACC cell apoptosis.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Ceramide; Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor; Mitochondria outer membrane permeabilization; Unfolded protein response.
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