Calmodulin mediates Fas-induced FADD-independent survival signaling in pancreatic cancer cells via activation of Src-Extracellular Signal-regulated Kinase (ERK)

Academic Article


  • Pancreatic cancer remains a devastating malignancy with a poor prognosis and is largely resistant to current therapies. To understand the resistance of pancreatic tumors to Fas death receptor-induced apoptosis, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of Fas-activated survival signaling in pancreatic cancer cells. We found that knockdown of the Fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD), the adaptor that mediates downstream signaling upon Fas activation, rendered Fas-sensitive MiaPaCa-2 and BxPC-3 pancreatic cells resistant to Fasinduced apoptosis. By contrast, Fas activation promoted the survival of the FADD knockdown MiaPaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. The pharmacological inhibitor of ERK, PD98059, abrogated Fas-promoted cell survival in FADD knockdown MiaPaCa-2 and BxPC-3 cells. Furthermore, increased phosphorylation of Src was demonstrated to mediate Fas-induced ERK activation and cell survival. Immunoprecipitation of Fas in the FADD knockdown cells identified the presence of increased calmodulin, Src, and phosphorylated Src in the Fas-associated protein complex upon Fas activation. Trifluoperazine, a calmodulin antagonist, inhibited Fas-induced recruitment of calmodulin, Src, and phosphorylated Src. Consistently, trifluoperazine blocked Fas-promoted cell survival. A direct interaction of calmodulin and Src and their binding site were identified with recombinant proteins. These results support an essential role of calmodulin in mediating Fas-induced FADD-independent activation of Src-ERK signaling pathways, which promote survival signaling in pancreatic cancer cells. Understanding the molecular mechanisms responsible for the resistance of pancreatic cells to apoptosis induced by Fas-death receptor signaling may provide molecular insights into designing novel therapies to treat pancreatic tumors.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 12676546
  • Author List

  • Yuan K; Jing G; Chen J; Liu H; Zhang K; Li Y; Wu H; McDonald JM; Chen Y
  • Start Page

  • 24776
  • End Page

  • 24784
  • Volume

  • 286
  • Issue

  • 28