Lytic peptide-mediated sensitization of TRAIL-resistant prostate cancer cells to death receptor agonists

Sutapa Barua, Rebecca S. Linton, Jennifer Gamboa, Ipsita Banerjee, Martin L. Yarmush, Kaushal Rege

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Tumor Necrosis Factor-α Related Apoptosis Inducing Ligand (TRAIL) and agonistic antibodies to death receptors (DR) 4 and 5 have attracted significant attention in recent years due to their ability to selectively induce apoptosis in malignant cells while demonstrating little cytotoxicity in normal cells. Although these candidates are promising in cancer therapy, a number of tumor cells are resistant to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. We describe the use of a cationic amphipathic lytic peptide, KLA (single letter sequence HHHHHKLAKLAKKLAKLAKC), for the chemosensitization of TRAIL-resistant LNCaP and PC3-PSMA human prostate cancer cells to DR agonistic antibodies. 'Single-agent' treatment with DR agonistic antibodies did not result in loss of viability of these cells confirming the resistance of these cells. However, the combination treatment of KLA followed by DR agonists resulted in greater cell death compared to the individual treatments acting alone, indicating synergistic action between the two components of the combination treatment. The combination of lytic peptide and DR agonists resulted in a significant increase in activated caspase-3 cleavage and cytochrome-C protein levels in cells, indicating a role for the caspase-mediated apoptotic pathway. In addition, KLA treatment also resulted in increased localization of DR5 and lipid rafts in LNCaP cells. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that lytic peptides can be employed for sensitizing TRAIL-resistant prostate cancer cells to DR-mediated apoptosis resulting in novel combination treatments for the ablation of advanced cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-253
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Combination treatments
  • Death receptors
  • Lytic peptides
  • Prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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