p16-induced apoptosis in Ewing's sarcoma

Geoffrey Sumithran Kannan, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The tumor suppressor p16 is a negative regulator of the cell cycle, and acts by preventing the phosphorylation of RB, which in turn prevents the progression from G1 to S phase of the cell cycle. In addition to its role in the cell cycle, p16 may also be able to induce apoptosis in some tumors. Ewing's sarcoma, a pediatric cancer of the bone and soft tissue, was used to study the ability of p16 to induce apoptosis due to the fact that p16 is often deleted in Ewing's sarcoma tumors and may play a role in the oncogenesis or progression of this disease. The purpose of these studies was to determine whether introduction of p16 into Ewing's sarcoma cells would induce apoptosis. We infected the Ewing's sarcoma cell line TC71, which does not express p16, with adenovirus- p16 (Ad-p16). Ad-p16 infection led to the production of functional p16 as measured by the induction of G1 arrest. Ad-p16 infection induced as much as a 100% increase in G1 arrest compared to untreated cells. As measured by propidium iodide (PI) and Annexin V staining, Ad-p16 was able to induce apoptosis to levels 20–30 fold higher than controls. Furthermore, Ad-p16 infection led to loss of RB protein before apoptosis could be detected. The loss of RB protein was due to post-translational degradation of RB, which was inhibited by the addition of the proteasome inhibitors PS-341 and NPI-0052. Downregulation of RB with si-RNA sensitized cells to Ad-p16-induced apoptosis, indicating that RB protects from apoptosis in this model. This study shows that p16 leads to the degradation of RB by the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway, and that this degradation may be important for the induction of apoptosis. Given that RB may protect from apoptosis in some tumors, apoptosis-inducing therapies may be enhanced in tumors which have lost RB expression, or in which RB is artificially inactivated.

Subject Area

Oncology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Kannan, Geoffrey Sumithran, "p16-induced apoptosis in Ewing's sarcoma" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3180671.