Indexed on: 26 Feb '15Published on: 26 Feb '15Published in: Biochimica et biophysica acta
Stable overexpression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (NOS-3) in HepG2 cells (4TO-NOS) leads to increased nitro-oxidative stress and upregulation of the cell death mediators p53 and Fas. Thus, NOS-3 overexpression has been suggested as a useful antiproliferative mechanism in hepatocarcinoma cells. We aimed to identify the underlying mechanism of cell death induced by NOS-3 overexpression at basal conditions and with anti-Fas treatment. The intracellular localization of NOS-3, the nitro-oxidative stress and the mitochondrial activity were analysed. In addition, the protein expression profile in 4TO-NOS was screened for differentially expressed proteins potentially involved in the induction of apoptosis. NOS-3 localization in the mitochondrial outer membrane was not associated with changes in the respiratory cellular capacity, but was related to the mitochondrial biogenesis increase and with a higher protein expression of mitochondrial complex IV. Nitro-oxidative stress and cell death in NOS-3 overexpressing cells occurred with the expression increase of pro-apoptotic genes and a higher expression/activity of the enzymes adrenodoxin reductase mitochondrial (AR) and cathepsin D (CatD). CatD overexpression in 4TO-NOS was related to the apoptosis induction independently of its catalytic activity. In addition, CatD activity inhibition by pepstatin A was not effective in blocking apoptosis induced by anti-Fas. In summary, NOS-3 overexpression resulted in an increased sensitivity to anti-Fas induced cell death, independently of AR expression and CatD activity.