A possible cross-talk between autophagy and apoptosis in generating an immune response in melanoma

Academic Article


  • Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, responsible for the majority of skin cancer related deaths. Thus, the search for natural molecules which can effectively destroy tumors while promoting immune activation is essential for designing novel therapies against metastatic melanoma. Here, we report for the first time that a natural triterpenoid, Ganoderic acid DM (GA-DM), induces an orchestrated autophagic and apoptotic cell death, as well as enhanced immunological responses via increased HLA class II presentation in melanoma cells. Annexin V staining and flow cytometry showed that GADM treatment induced apoptosis of melanoma cells, which was supported by a detection of increased Bax proteins, colocalization and elevation of Apaf-1 and cytochrome c, and a subsequent cleavage of caspases 9 and 3. Furthermore, GA-DM treatment initiated a possible cross-talk between autophagy and apoptosis as evidenced by increased levels of Beclin-1 and LC3 proteins, and their timely interplay with apoptotic and/or anti-apoptotic molecules in melanoma cells. Despite GA-DM's moderate cytotoxicity, viable cells expressed high levels of HLA class II proteins with improved antigen presentation and CD4+ T cell recognition. The antitumor efficacy of GA-DM was also investigated in vivo in murine B16 melanoma model, where GA-DM treatment slowed tumor formation with a significant reduction in tumor volume. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the potential of GA-DM as a natural chemo-immunotherapeutic capable of inducing a possible cross-talk between autophagy and apoptosis, as well as improved immune recognition for sustained melanoma tumor clearance. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Hossain A; Radwan FFY; Doonan BP; God JM; Zhang L; Darwin Bell P; Haque A
  • Start Page

  • 1066
  • End Page

  • 1078
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 10