DHA induces apoptosis by altering the expression and cellular location of GRP78 in colon cancer cell lines

Elena Fasano, Simona Serini, Elisabetta Piccioni, Amelia Toesca Di Castellazzo, Giovanni Monego, Achille Renato Maria Cittadini, Franco Oreste Ranelletti, Gabriella Calviello

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review

60 Citazioni (Scopus)


n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acids exert growth-inhibitory and pro-apoptotic effects in colon cancer cells. We hypothesized that the anti-apoptotic glucose related protein of 78 kDa (GRP78), originally described as a component of the unfolded protein response in endoplasmic reticulum (ER), could be a molecular target for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in these cells. GRP78 total and surface overexpression was previously associated with a poor prognosis in several cancers, whereas its down-regulation with decreased cancer growth in animal models. DHA treatment induced apoptosis in three colon cancer cell lines (HT-29, HCT116 and SW480), and inhibited their total and surface GRP78 expression. The cell ability to undergo DHA-induced apoptosis was inversely related to their level of GRP78 expression. The transfection of the low GRP78-expressing SW480 cells with GRP78-GFP cDNA significantly induced cell growth and inhibited the DHA-driven apoptosis, thus supporting the essential role of GRP78 in DHA pro-apoptotic effect. We suggest that pERK1/2 could be the first upstream target for DHA, and demonstrate that, downstream of GRP78, DHA may exert its proapoptotic role by augmenting the expression of the ER resident factors ERdj5 and inhibiting the phosphorylation of PKR-like ER kinase (PERK), known to be both physically associated with GRP78, and by activating caspase-4. Overall, the regulation of cellular GRP78 expression and location is suggested as a possible route through which DHA can exert pro-apoptotic and antitumoral effects in colon cancer cells.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)1762-1772
Numero di pagine11
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • GRP78
  • apoptosis
  • colon cancer


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