Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors sensitize cancer cells to death receptor-mediated apoptosis by enhancing death receptor expression

X. Wei Meng, Brian D. Koh, Jin San Zhang, Karen S. Flatten, Paula A. Schneider, Daniel D. Billadeau, Allan D. Hess, B. Douglas Smith, Judith E. Karp, Scott H. Kaufmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Recombinant human tumor necrosis factor-α-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL), agonistic monoclonal antibodies to TRAIL receptors, and small molecule TRAIL receptor agonists are in various stages of preclinical and early phase clinical testing as potential anticancer drugs. Accordingly, there is substantial interest in understanding factors that affect sensitivity to these agents. In the present study we observed that the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors olaparib and veliparib sensitize the myeloid leukemia cell lines ML-1 and K562, the ovarian cancer line PEO1, non-small cell lung cancer line A549, and a majority of clinical AML isolates, but not normal marrow, to TRAIL. Further analysis demonstrated that PARP inhibitor treatment results in activation of the FAS and TNFRSF10B (death receptor 5 (DR5)) promoters, increased Fas and DR5 mRNA, and elevated cell surface expression of these receptors in sensitized cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated enhanced binding of the transcription factor Sp1 to the TNFRSF10B promoter in the presence of PARP inhibitor. Knockdown of PARP1 or PARP2 (but not PARP3 and PARP4) not only increased expression of Fas and DR5 at the mRNA and protein level, but also recapitulated the sensitizing effects of the PARP inhibition. Conversely, Sp1 knockdown diminished the PARP inhibitor effects. In view of the fact that TRAIL is part of the armamentarium of natural killer cells, these observations identify a new facet of PARP inhibitor action while simultaneously providing the mechanistic underpinnings of a novel therapeutic combination that warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20543-20558
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number30
StatePublished - Jul 25 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors sensitize cancer cells to death receptor-mediated apoptosis by enhancing death receptor expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this