Bisindolylmaleimide IX facilitates tumor necrosis factor receptor family-mediated cell death and acts as an inhibitor of transcription

Oskar W. Rokhlin*, Rebecca A. Glover, Agshin F. Taghiyev, Natalya V. Guseva, Richard E.B. Seftor, Inna Shyshynova, Andrei V. Gudkov, Michael B. Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Bisindolylmaleimides (Bis) were originally described as protein kinase C inhibitors. Several studies have shown that Bis potentiate tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor family-mediated apoptosis in lymphoid and dendritic cells, but the inhibition of protein kinase C cannot account for these effects (Zhou, T., Song, L., Yang, P., Wang, Z., Lui, D., and Jope, R. S. (1999) Nat. Med. 5, 42-48). We investigated the effect of four Bis derivatives (I, II, VIII, and IX) in human prostatic carcinoma cell lines and found that Bis IX was the most potent inducer of apoptosis under simultaneous treatment with TNF-α, agonistic anti-Fas monoclonal antibody, and TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Bis IX synergistically induced caspase activity in combination with apoptosis-inducing ligands and converted the phenotype of cell lines from apoptosis-resistant to -sensitive. Bis IX induced p53 accumulation in LNCaP (lymph node carcinoma of prostate), which expresses wild-type p53 that was not accompanied by the induction of p53-responsive genes, p21/WAF1, and Mdm2. Moreover, the induction of p21/WAF1 and Mdm2 by doxorubicin was abrogated by simultaneous treatment with Bis IX. These effects apparently result from general inhibition of transcription by Bis IX. We have shown by Northern blot analysis that the transcription activity of the hygromycin gene after transient transfection of pcDNA3.1-Hygro plasmid in 293 and HeLa cells was inhibited by Bis IX in a dose-dependent manner. Moreover, DNA binding activity of Bis IX was prevented by actinomycin D, suggesting that actinomycin D and Bis IX have similar mechanisms of interaction with DNA. In addition, we found that actinomycin D and Bis IX induced caspase activity to the same extent during TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. In summary, these results suggest that Bis IX potentiates TNF receptor family-mediated cell death in part as an inhibitor of transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33213-33219
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 6 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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