Regulation of pancreatic cancer TRAIL resistance by protein O-GlcNAcylation

Academic Article


  • TRAIL-activating therapy is promising in treating various cancers, including pancreatic cancer, a highly malignant neoplasm with poor prognosis. However, many pancreatic cancer cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis despite their expression of intact death receptors (DRs). Protein O-GlcNAcylation is a versatile posttranslational modification that regulates various biological processes. Elevated protein O-GlcNAcylation has been recently linked to cancer cell growth and survival. In this study, we evaluated the role of protein O-GlcNAcylation in pancreatic cancer TRAIL resistance, and identified higher levels of O-GlcNAcylation in TRAIL-resistant pancreatic cancer cells. With gain- and loss-of-function of the O-GlcNAc-adding enzyme, O-GlcNActransferase (OGT), we determined that increasing O-GlcNAcylation rendered TRAIL-sensitive cells more resistant to TRA-8-induced apoptosis, while inhibiting O-GlcNAcylation promoted TRA-8-induced apoptosis in TRAIL-resistance cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that OGT knockdown sensitized TRAIL-resistant cells to TRA-8 therapy in a mouse model in vivo. Mechanistic studies revealed direct O-GlcNAc modifications of DR5, which regulated TRA-8-induced DR5 oligomerization. We further defined that DR5 O-GlcNAcylation was independent of FADD, the adapter protein for the downstream death-inducing signaling. These studies have demonstrated an important role of protein O-GlcNAcylation in regulating TRAIL resistance of pancreatic cancer cells; and uncovered the contribution of O-GlcNAcylation to DR5 oligomerization and thus mediating DR-inducing signaling.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yang SZ; Xu F; Yuan K; Sun Y; Zhou T; Zhao X; McDonald JM; Chen Y
  • Start Page

  • 777
  • End Page

  • 785
  • Volume

  • 100
  • Issue

  • 5