Targeting 14-3-3 protein, difopein induces apoptosis of human glioma cells and suppresses tumor growth in mice.

Research paper by Weidong W Cao, Xiaoliang X Yang, Jie J Zhou, Zenghui Z Teng, Lei L Cao, Xiang X Zhang, Zhou Z Fei

Indexed on: 25 Dec '09Published on: 25 Dec '09Published in: Apoptosis


14-3-3 protein has emerged as critical regulators of diverse cellular responses. Previous studies found that strong 14-3-3 protein expression was observed and associated with tumor genesis and progression in glioma. Here, we further elucidated the role of 14-3-3 protein in apoptosis of human glioma U251 and U87 cells by global inhibition of 14-3-3 functions with a general 14-3-3 antagonist, difopein. In vitro, morphological observation and DNA laddering assay showed that difopein-treated glioma cells displayed outstanding apoptosis characteristics, such as nuclear fragmentation, appearance of membrane-enclosed apoptotic bodies and DNA laddering fragment. Moreover, flow cytometric detection of phosphatidylserine externalization indicated that difopein-induced apoptosis occurred in a time-dependent manner. Interestingly, inhibiting 14-3-3 with small interfere RNA also induce apoptosis of human glioma U251 cells. Furthermore, RT-PCR and western blot assay further substantiated that difopein had strong effects to induce glioma cell apoptosis through down-regulating Bcl-2, up-regulating Bax and activating caspase-9 and caspase-3. In vivo, retroviral vector was constructed and retroviral-mediated transfer of difopein to glioma was implanted in nude mice. Difopein effectively hindered proliferation and triggered apoptosis of tumor cells implanted into nude mice. This work not only reveals a critical role of 14-3-3 in apoptosis suppression in glioma cells, but also identifies and validates 14-3-3 as a potential molecular target for anticancer therapeutic development.