Background Paclitaxel is recommended as a first-line chemotherapeutic agent against ovarian cancer, but drug resistance becomes a major limitation. The key molecule or mechanism associated with paclitaxel resistance in ovarian cancer still remains unclear. Recent studies have revealed an association between autophagy and drug resistance.
Methods We previously synthesized a MAPK kinase-recombinant fusion protein, MAP2K6-FP, that contains 3 domains: a protein transduction domain TAT, a human ovarian cancer HO8910 cell-specific binding peptide, and a potential antitumor effector domain MKK6(E). In this study, we investigated the effect of MAP2K6-FP on HO8910 cells treated with paclitaxel.
Results The IC50 (concentration by which 50% cell growth was inhibited) was 20 μM for paclitaxel alone, 1.5 μg/mL for MAP2K6-FP alone, and 0.3 μg/mL for MAP2K6-FP and 15 μM for paclitaxel if combined, respectively. In addition, immunohistochemistry assay demonstrated that tumor tissues from ovarian cancer patients showed higher expression of LC-3, the autophagy-related protein, compared with normal ovarian tissues. MAP2K6-FP (0, 2.5, 5, 10, 20, and 40 μg/mL) dose-dependently increased the LC-3 expression in HO8910 cells. Immunofluorescence assay showed that paclitaxel alone increased the expression of LC-3 in HO8910 cells, which was further enhanced by the combination with MAP2K6-FP. Downregulation of LC-3 expression using LC-3 small interfering RNA inhibited the cytotoxicity effect of MAP2K6-FP. Furthermore, either MAP2K6-FP alone or in combination with paclitaxel increased the ratio of expressions of Beclin-1/Bcl-2, another autophagy-related markers, compared with paclitaxel alone.
Conclusions MAP2K6-FP enhanced the sensitiveness of paclitaxel for ovarian cancer via inducing autophagy.
- Ovarian cancer
- Drug resistance
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.