Linking of N-Myc to death receptor machinery in neuroblastoma cells

Academic Article


  • The oncogene MYCN is amplified in aggressive neuroblastomas in which caspase-8, an essential component of death receptor pathways, is frequently inactivated, suggesting a critical role of death receptor-mediated apoptosis in suppression of N-Myc oncogenic activity. Elevated levels of N-Myc sensitize neuroblastoma cells to apoptosis induced by various death ligands. Using tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis as a model, we define the mechanism underlying the sensitization effect. In neuroblastoma cells with increased expression of N-Myc, TRAIL triggers high levels of caspase-8 activation and Bid cleavage, leading to release of cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO from mitochondria. However, the apoptotic process requires Smac/DIABLO, but not cytochrome c-mediated caspase-8 activation. N-Myc sensitizes neuroblastoma cells to TRAIL by up-regulating TRAIL receptor-2/DR5/KILLER and Bid. Moreover, DR5 mRNA is increased after N-Myc overexpression, and the human DR5 promoter contains two noncanonical E-boxes critical for the transcriptional activation by N-Myc. These findings establish a mechanistic link between N-Myc and death receptor machinery, which may serve as a checkpoint to guard the cell from N-Myc-initiated tumorigenesis. © 2005 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cui H; Li T; Ding HF
  • Start Page

  • 9474
  • End Page

  • 9481
  • Volume

  • 280
  • Issue

  • 10