Ras signaling in tumor necrosis factor-induced apoptosis

Jonathan C. Trent, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced apoptosis is important in immunologic cytotoxicity, autoimmunity, sepsis, normal embryonic development, and wound healing. TNF exerts cytotoxicity on many types of tumor cells but not on normal cells. The molecular events leading to cell death triggered by TNF are still poorly understood. We found that enforced expression of an activated H-ras oncogene converted the non-tumorigenic TNF-resistant C3H 10T1/2 fibroblasts into tumorigenic cells (10TEJ) that also became very sensitive to TNF-induced apoptosis. This finding suggested that the oncogenic form of H-Ras, in which the p21 is locked in the GTP-bound form, could play a role in TNF-induced apoptosis of these cells. To investigate whether Ras activation is an obligatory step in TNF-induced apoptosis, we introduced two different molecular antagonists of Ras, namely the Rap1A tumor suppressor gene or the dominant-negative rasN17 gene, into H-ras transformed 10TEJ cells. Expression of either Rap1A or RasN17 in 10TEJ cells resulted in abrogation of TNF-induced apoptosis. Similar results were obtained by expression of either Ras antagonist in L929 cells, a fibroblast cell line that is sensitive to TNF-induced apoptosis but does not have a ras mutation. The effects of Rap-1A and RasN17 appear to be specific to TNF, since cytotoxicity induced by doxorubicin and thapsigargin are unaffected. Additionally, constitutive apoptosis sensitivity in isolated nuclei, as measured by activation of Ca$\sp{2+}$-dependent endogenous endonuclease, is not affected by Rap-1A or RasN17. Moreover, TNF treatment of L929 cells increased Ras-bound GTP, indicating that Ras activation is triggered by TNF. Thus, Ras activation is required for TNF-induced apoptosis in mouse cells.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Molecular biology|Surgery

Recommended Citation

Trent, Jonathan C., "Ras signaling in tumor necrosis factor-induced apoptosis" (1996). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9612577.