Activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of Rb are associated with p16-mediated apoptosis in human non-small cell lung cancer cells

Koh Katsuda, Masafumi Kataoka, Futoshi Uno, Takayoshi Murakami, Tadashi Kondo, Jack A. Roth, Noriaki Tanaka, Toshiyoshi Fujiwara

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47 Citations (Scopus)


The p16 tumor suppressor gene is frequently inactivated in human cancer tissues and cell lines. We previously reported that wild-type p16 expression from an adenovirus vector (Adv/p16) induced p53-dependent apoptotic cell death in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines. Here we show the potential mechanism of apoptosis induced by Adv/p16 infection. Infection of human NSCLC cell line A549, which carries the wild-type p53 gene, with Adv/p16 resulted in activation of caspase-3, accompanied by the cleavage of its substrate poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), on day 3 of infection. The retinoblastoma (Rb) cell cycle regulator protein was also cleaved after activation of caspase-3; when the levels of Rb significantly diminished, apoptosis began. When A549 cells were pretreated with the caspase-inhibitory peptide N-acetyl-asp-Glu-Val-Asp-CHO (aldehyde) (Ac-DEVD-CHO), Adv/p16-mediated apoptosis and Rb cleavage were greatly inhibited. Furthermore, MDM2, a negative regulator of p53 expression was upregulated 3 days after Adv/p16 infection, and MDM2 was subsequently cleaved by caspase-3; MDM2 cleavage was inhibited by Ac-DEVD-CHO treatment. These data implied that cleavage of Rb, in addition to activation of caspase-3, represented a mechanism by which Adv/p16 induced apoptotic cell death in human NSCLC cells. Our results support the clinical relevance of Adv/p16 as a treatment for p16-null human NSCLC that express wild-type p53.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2108-2113
Number of pages6
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2002



  • Adenovirus vector
  • Apoptosis
  • Caspase-3
  • P16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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