Sustained activation of JNK/p38 MAPK pathways in response to cisplatin leads to Fas ligand induction and cell death in ovarian carcinoma cells

Abdellah Mansouri, Lon D. Ridgway, Anita L. Korapati, Qingxiu Zhang, Ling Tian, Yibin Wang, Zahid H. Siddik, Gordon B. Mills, François X. Claret

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

265 Scopus citations


The efficacy of cisplatin in cancer chemotherapy is limited by the development of resistance. Although the molecular mechanisms involved in chemoresistance are poorly understood, cellular response to cisplatin is known to involve activation of MAPK and other signal transduction pathways. An understanding of early signal transduction events in the response to cisplatin could be valuable for improving the efficacy of cancer therapy. We compared cisplatin-induced activation of three MAPKs, JNK, p38, and ERK, in a cisplatin-sensitive human ovarian carcinoma cell line (2008) and its resistant subclone (2008C13). The JNK and p38 pathways were activated differentially in response to cisplatin, with the cisplatin-sensitive cells showing prolonged activation (8-12 h) and the cisplatin-resistant cells showing only transient activation (1-3 h) of JNK and p38. In the sensitive cells, inhibition of cisplatin-induced JNK and p38 activation blocked cisplatin-induced apoptosis; persistent activation of JNK resulted in hyperphosphorylation of the c-Jun transcription factor, which in turn stimulated the transcription of an immediate downstream target, the death inducer Fas ligand (FasL). Sequestration of FasL by incubation with a neutralizing anti-FasL antibody inhibited cisplatin-induced apoptosis. In contrast, chemoresistance in 2008C13 cells was associated with failure to up-regulate FasL. Moreover, in these cells, selective stimulation of the JNK/p38 MAPK pathways by adenovirus-mediated delivery of recombinant MKK7 or MKK3 led to sensitization to apoptosis through reactivating FasL expression. Thus, the JNK > c-Jun > FasL > Fas pathway plays an important role in mediating cisplatin-induced apoptosis in ovarian cancer cells, and the duration of JNK activation is critical in determining whether cells survive or undergo apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19245-19256
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 23 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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