Simultaneous induction of apoptosis and necroptosis by Tanshinone IIA in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells.
Cell Death Discov. 2016;2:16065. Epub 2016 Oct 3. PMID: 27752362
Tanshinone IIA (Tan IIA), a constituent of the traditional medicinal plantBUNGE, has been reported to possess anticancer activity through induction of apoptosis in many cancer cells. Surprisingly, the present study finds that Tan IIA simultaneously causes apoptosis and necroptosis in human hepatocellular carcinoma HepG2 cells. We further find that apoptosis can be converted to necroptosis by pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk, and the two death modes can be blocked by necroptotic inhibitor necrostatin-1. The underlying mechanisms are revealed by analysis of the signaling molecules using western blotting. In control cells, FLICE inhibitory protein in short form (FLIP) is expressed in relatively high levels and binds to caspase 8 in ripoptosome, which supposedly sustains cell survival. However, in Tan IIA-treated cells, FLIPis down-regulated and may thus cause homodimer formation of cleaved caspase 8, cleavage of receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinases 1, 3 (RIP1, RIP3), and mixed-lineage kinase domain-like (MLKL), in turn leads to cell apoptosis. In parallel, Tan IIA causes necroptosis by forming a suggested necrosomal complex composed of RIP1/RIP3. Regarding the inhibitors, z-VAD-fmk diminishes the cleaved caspase 8, RIP1, RIP3, and MLKL induced by Tan IIA, and reconstructs the ripoptosome complex, which marks cells moving from apoptosis to necroptosis. Nec-1 recovers the Tan IIA down-regulated FLIP, consequently causes FLIPto form heterodimer with caspase 8 and thus block apoptosis. Meanwhile, cleaved forms of RIP1 and RIP3 were observed preventing necroptosis. Intriguingly, the cytotoxicity of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand to HepG2 cells is enhanced by Tan IIA in a pilot study, which may be attributed to low FLIPlevels induced by Tan IIA. In short, Tan IIA simultaneously induces both Nec-1 inhibition and FLIPregulation-mediated apoptosis/necroptosis, which has not been previously documented. Moreover, the involvement of the cleavage type of MLKL in executing necroptosis warrants further investigation.