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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

IFNalpha induces Fas expression and apoptosis in hedgehog pathway activated BCC cells through inhibiting Ras- Erk signaling.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common form of human cancer, is understood to be associated with activation of the sonic hedgehog pathway, through loss-of-function mutations of tumor suppressor PTCH1 or gain-of-function mutations of smoothened. Interferon (IFN)-based therapy is quite effective in BCC treatment, but the molecular basis is not well understood. Here we report a novel mechanism by which IFNalpha mediates apoptosis in BCCs. In the presence of IFNalpha, we observed increased apoptosis in a BCC cell line ASZ001, in which PTC is null, and therefore with constitutive activation of the sonic hedgehog pathway. We demonstrate that SMO agonist Ag-1.4 mediates activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase ( Erk) phosphorylation, which is abrogated by IFNalpha in sonic hedgehog responsive C3H10T1/2 cells. In transient transfection experiments, we demonstrate that IFNalpha inhibits Erk phosphorylation and serum response element activation induced by expression of SMO, Gli1, PDGFRalpha and activated Raf, but not activated mitogen-activated Erk- regulating kinase ( Mek), suggesting that IFNalpha targets mainly on Mek function. We further show that IFNalpha induces expression of Fas in BCC cells through interfering with Mek function. The role of the Fas-L/Fas signaling axis in IFNalpha- mediated apoptosis is demonstrated by the fact that addition of Fas-L neutralizing antibodies, just as caspase-8 inhibitor Z-IETD-FMK, effectively prevents IFNalpha-mediated apoptosis. Thus, our data indicate that IFNalpha-based BCC therapy induces Fas expression and apoptosis through interfering with Mek function.[1]


  1. IFNalpha induces Fas expression and apoptosis in hedgehog pathway activated BCC cells through inhibiting Ras-Erk signaling. Li, C., Chi, S., He, N., Zhang, X., Guicherit, O., Wagner, R., Tyring, S., Xie, J. Oncogene (2004) [Pubmed]
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