Differential effects of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Mcl-1, Bcl-2, and Bcl-xL on Celecoxib-induced apoptosis


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Abstract

Graphical abstractThe cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitor Celecoxib is a potent inducer of apoptosis in tumor cells. In most cellular systems Celecoxib induces apoptosis via an intrinsic, mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. We recently showed that in Bax-negative Jurkat cells expression of pro-apoptotic Bak is essential for Celecoxib-induced mitochondrial damage and apoptosis induction. Aim of the present study was to identify specific pro- and anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family involved in the regulation of Bak activation, and subsequent apoptosis upon treatment with Celecoxib in the Jurkat cell model.Our results show that apoptosis in response to Celecoxib required the presence of Noxa and downregulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1. Celecoxib-induced Bak activation and subsequent apoptosis could be inhibited by overexpression of Bcl-xL but not by the very similar Bcl-2. In Bcl-xL-overexpressing cells neutralization of both, Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL, was prerequisite for an efficient induction of apoptosis. Our data reveal an important role of the Mcl-1/Noxa axis for Celecoxib-induced apoptosis and suggest that Celecoxib may be of value for treatment of tumors addicted to Mcl-1 and for combined treatment approaches targeting anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members.

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