Abstract: Fas (CD95/APO-1) is a transmembrane death receptor that transduces apoptotic signals upon binding to its ligand and assembling into a death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) (1, 2). Intracellular trafficking of Fas receptors, including recycling from endosomes to the plasma membrane, plays a vital role in ligand-induced assembly of DISC (3, 4). Although Fas is highly expressed in tumor cells (5, 6), insufficient expression of these receptors on the cell surface makes cancer cells insensitive to the Fas-induced apoptosis (4, 7-9). Here we show that inhibition of endocytosis increases the formation of Fas microaggregates on the plasma membrane and sensitizes cancer cells to Fas-induced apoptosis. We have identified a clinically used vasodilator, Fasudil, that slows down endocytosis by increasing plasma membrane tension. Fasudil enhanced apoptosis in cancerous cells when combined with exogenous soluble Fas ligand (FasL), whereas the synergistic effect was substantially weaker in nonmalignant cells. Additionally, the FasL and Fasudil combination prevented glioblastoma cell growth in embryonic stem cell-derived brain organoids and induced tumor regression in a xenograft U87 tumor model in nude mice. Our results demonstrate that FasL treatment has strong potential as an apoptosis-directed cancer therapy when the formation of Fas microaggregates is augmented by slowing down endocytosis dynamics.

Journal Link: bioRxiv Other Link: Download PDF Other Link: Google Scholar

Register for reporter access to contact details

bioRxiv; Download PDF; Google Scholar