Reactive oxygen species-dependent mechanisms of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4HPR)-induced apoptosis in human carcinoma cells

Humam Kadara, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


4HPR is a synthetic retinoid that has shown chemopreventive and therapeutic efficacy against premalignant and malignant lesions including oral leukoplakia, ovarian and breast cancer, and neuroblastoma. 4HPR induces apoptosis in various cancer cells and production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been suggested as a possible cause underlying these effects. However, the mechanisms governing these effects by 4HPR are not fully elucidated. In this study, we explored the mechanisms of 4HPR-induced ROS increase and apoptosis in human cancer cells. First, we identified genes modulated by 4HPR using oligonucleotide gene expression arrays and found that they fall into specific functional canonical pathways and gene networks using Ingenuity Pathways Analysis®. Further analysis has shown that 4HPR induced up-regulation of Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER)-related genes such as Heat shock proteins 70 and 90 and the transcriptional factor, GADD153. These findings were validated using quantitative real-time PCR. Second, we found that 4HPR induced extensive ER stress evidenced by dilation of the ER and endoribonuclease-mediated splicing and activation of the transcriptional factor, XBP-1. In addition, 4HPR induced the up-regulation of various ER stress-related genes and their protein products, as well as cleavage and activation of the ER specific Caspase-4. Concomitantly with XBP-1 splicing, all of these effects were dependent on ROS generation by 4HPR. Furthermore, chemical inhibition and RNA interference studies revealed a novel pro-apoptotic role for HSP70/A1A in 4HPR-mediated apoptosis. Third, we observed rapid activation of the small GTPase Rac by 4HPR which was upstream of ROS generation. Inhibition of Rac activity or silencing of its expression by RNA interference inhibited ROS generation and apoptosis induction by 4HPR. siRNA targeting PAK1 and expression of a dominant negative Rac, decreased 4HPR-mediated ROS generation, while expression of a constitutive active Rac increased basal and 4HPR-induced ROS generation and PARP cleavage. Furthermore, metastatic cancer cells exhibited higher Rac activation, ROS generation, and cell growth inhibition due to 4HPR exposure compared to their primary cancer cell counterparts. These findings provide novel insights into 4HPR-mediated ROS generation and apoptosis induction and support the use of ROS inducing agents such as 4HPR against metastatic cancer cells.

Subject Area

Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Kadara, Humam, "Reactive oxygen species-dependent mechanisms of N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4HPR)-induced apoptosis in human carcinoma cells" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3296169.