Biochemical mechanisms involved in cisplatin-induced apoptosis in malignant mesothelioma cells

Inez Lidia Cregan

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    125 Downloads (Pure)


    Malignant mesothelioma (MM) is an aggressive malignancy that originates from mesothelial cells and is highly resistant to conventional forms of anti-cancer therapy. Defects in apoptotic pathways are believed to play a major role in determining resistance to chemotherapy. The characterization of these pathways in mesothelioma is essential in order to develop more effective therapies. The inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) are a family of proteins that regulate apoptosis and have been implicated in the resistance of malignant cells. There is evidence that upregulation of specific IAP molecules can influence tumour progression and response to chemotherapy. In this study we examined the apoptotic signalling in MM cells and the potential role of IAPs in both cell proliferation and chemosensitivity. We examined expression of six IAP genes or isoforms in both malignant and normal mesothelial cells. Results demonstrated that XIAP, IAP-1, IAP-2, survivin and Bruce were expressed in all four MM cell lines and four primary mesothelial cultures. There was no evidence for differential expression of these genes between MM and mesothelial cultures. Livin expression was detected in only one MM cell line. Various aspects of apoptotic signalling pathways in response to the chemotherapeutic drug cisplatin were also analysed including: a) the mitochondrial integrity, b) caspase activation, c) cell viability and d) phosphatidylserine translocation. In order to further characterize the role of IAPs, the transcriptional regulation of these genes in response to cisplatin was investigated using real-time RT-PCR. The results of these experiments indicated that there was no significant regulation of IAPs at the transcriptional level in the cells examined during cisplatin-induced apoptosis. Overall the data was consistent with cisplatin inducing apoptosis in MM cells via intrinsic signalling pathways in a dose dependent manner. Regulation of IAP expression was not seen at the RNA transcription level as has been described in other tumour types but may occur through protein posttranslational events. In order to further investigate IAP function we performed analyses of two IAPs which had previously been proposed as having a role in mesothelioma: XIAP and survivin. Protocols for RNAi knockdown at the protein expression level were established. Although the data indicated significant reduction in protein expression, the effects on cell survival after treatment with cisplatin were moderate. These studies were then extended to other molecules that are known to interact with and modulate the function of IAPs. We characterized the expression of the proteins: XAF1, HTRA2, ARTS in MM cells. RT-PCR data showed that HTRA2 and XAF1 genes were expressed in MM cell lines, however we did not see expression of ARTS. On the basis of recently published data we examined the XAF1 splice variants expressed in MM cell lines by sequence determination and PCR screening.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


    Dive into the research topics of 'Biochemical mechanisms involved in cisplatin-induced apoptosis in malignant mesothelioma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this