Cellular inhibitor of apoptosis 1 (cIAP-1) degradation by caspase 8 during TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis

Maria Eugenia Guicciardi, Justin L. Mott, Steven F. Bronk, Satoshi Kurita, Christian D. Fingas, Gregory J. Gores

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a potential chemotherapeutic agent with high selectivity for malignant cells. Many tumors, however, are resistant to TRAIL cytotoxicity. Although cellular inhibitors of apoptosis 1 and 2 (cIAP-1 and -2) are often over-expressed in cancers, their role in mediating TRAIL resistance remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that TRAIL-induced apoptosis of liver cancer cells is associated with degradation of cIAP-1 and X-linked IAP (XIAP), whereas cIAP-2 remains unchanged. Lower concentrations of TRAIL causing minimal or no apoptosis do not alter cIAP-1 or XIAP protein levels. Silencing of cIAP-1 expression, but not XIAP or cIAP-2, as well as co-treatment with a second mitochondrial activator of caspases (SMAC) mimetic (which results in rapid depletion of cIAP-1), sensitizes the cells to TRAIL. TRAIL-induced loss of cIAP-1 and XIAP requires caspase activity. In particular, caspase 8 knockdown stabilizes both cIAP-1 and XIAP, while caspase 9 knockdown prevents XIAP, but not cIAP-1 degradation. Cell-free experiments confirmed cIAP-1 is a substrate for caspase 8, with likely multiple cleavage sites. These results suggest that TRAIL-mediated apoptosis proceeds through caspase 8-dependent degradation of cIAP-1. Targeted depletion of cIAP-1 by SMAC mimetics in conjunction with TRAIL may be beneficial for the treatment of human hepatobiliary malignancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


  • Chemoresistance
  • Death receptors
  • Hepatobiliary cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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