Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) is an essential component of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) signaling that regulates nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathways, and compelling evidence has demonstrated that TRAF2 suppresses TNF-α-induced cytotoxicity. On the other hand, it has been reported that oxidative stress-induced cytotoxicity is potentiated by TRAF2, indicating that TRAF2 both positively and negatively regulates stress-induced cytotoxicity in a context-specific manner. However, the causal role of TRAF2 in DNA damage response (DDR) remains to be explored. In this study, we assessed the function of TRAF2 in DDR induced by cisplatin, a representative DNA-damaging agent, and found that TRAF2 exerts pro-apoptotic activity through p53-dependent mechanisms at least in human fibrosarcoma cell line HT1080. TRAF2 deficient cells exhibit significant resistance to cell death induced by cisplatin, accompanied by the reduction of both p53 protein level and caspase-3 activation. Moreover, cisplatin-induced JNK activation was attenuated in TRAF2-deficient cells, and pharmacological inhibition of JNK signaling suppressed p53 stabilization. These results suggest that TRAF2 promotes p53-dependent apoptosis by activating the JNK signaling cascade in HT1080 cells. Thus, our data demonstrate a novel function of TRAF2 in cisplatin-induced DDR as a pro-apoptotic protein.
Keywords: Apoptosis; Cisplatin; DNA damage; JNK; TRAF2; p53.