It has been demonstrated that APPL1 (adaptor protein, phosphotyrosine interacting with PH domain and leucine zipper 1) is involved in the regulation of several growth-related signaling pathways and thus closely associated with the development and progression of some cancers. Diallyl trisulfide (DAT), a garlic-derived bioactive compound, exerts selective cytotoxicity to various human cancer cells through interfering with pro-survival signaling pathways. However, whether and how DAT affects survival of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells remain unclear. Herein, we tested the hypothesis of the involvement of APPL1 in DAT-induced cytotoxicity in HCC HepG2 cells. We found that Lys 63 (K63)-linked polyubiquitination of APPL1 was significantly decreased whereas phosphorylation of APPL1 at serine residues remained unchanged in DAT-treated HepG2 cells. Compared with wild-type APPL1, overexpression of APPL1 K63R mutant dramatically increased cell apoptosis and mitigated cell survival, along with a reduction of phosphorylation of STAT3, Akt, and Erk1/2. In addition, DAT administration markedly reduced protein levels of intracellular TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6). Genetic inhibition of TRAF6 decreased K63-linked polyubiquitination of APPL1. Moreover, the cytotoxicity impacts of DAT on HepG2 cells were greatly attenuated by overexpression of wild-type APPL1. Taken together, these results suggest that APPL1 polyubiquitination probably mediates the inhibitory effects of DAT on survival of HepG2 cells by modulating STAT3, Akt, and Erk1/2 pathways.
Keywords: APPL1; Cell survival; Diallyl trisulfide; Hepatocellular carcinoma cells.