cFLIP critically modulates apoptotic resistance in epithelial-tomesenchymal transition

Chandrasekhar Padmanabhan, Eric J. Rellinger, Jing Zhu, Hanbing An, Luke G. Woodbury, Dai H. Chung, Alex G. Waterson, Craig W. Lindsley, Anna L. Means, R. Daniel Beauchamp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Epithelial cancers (carcinomas) comprise the top four causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States. While overall survival has been steadily improving, therapyresistant disease continues to present a major therapeutic challenge. Carcinomas often exploit the normal developmental program, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), to gain a mesenchymal phenotype associated with increased invasiveness and resistance to apoptosis. We have previously shown that an isoxazole-based small molecule, ML327, partially reverses TGF-β-induced EMT in an immortalized mouse mammary epithelial cell line. Herein, we demonstrate that ML327 reverses much of the EMT gene expression program in cultured carcinoma cell lines. The reversal of EMT sensitizes these cancer cells to the apoptosis-inducing ligand TRAIL. This sensitization is independent of E-cadherin expression and rather relies on the downregulation of a major anti-apoptotic protein, cFLIPS. Loss of cFLIPS is sufficient to overcome resistance to TRAIL and exogenous overexpression of cFLIPS restores resistance to TRAIL-induced apoptosis despite EMT reversal with ML327. In summary, we have utilized an isoxazolebased small molecule that partially reverses EMT in carcinoma cells to demonstrate that cFLIPS critically regulates the apoptosis resistance phenotype associated with EMT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101072-101086
Number of pages15
Issue number60
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Flow cytometry experiments were performed in the VMC Flow Cytometry Shared Resource. The VMC Flow Cytometry Shared Resource is supported by the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center (P30 CA68485) and the Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center (DK058404). RNA sequencing was performed in the Vanderbilt Technologies for Advanced Genomics (VANTAGE) Core. VANTAGE is supported in part by CTSA Grant (5UL1 RR024975-03), the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center (P30 CA68485), the Vanderbilt Vision Center (P30 EY08126), and NIH/NCRR (G20 RR030956).

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the NIH T32CA106183-10 Training Grant (Padmanabhan, Rellinger), the GI SPORE P50CA095103 (Beauchamp), and the John Clinton Foshee Endowment to the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Surgery (Beauchamp).

Publisher Copyright:
© Padmanabhan et al.


  • Apoptosis
  • EMT
  • Isoxazole

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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