Direct gene transfer of adenoviral-mediated interferon α into human bladder cancer cells but not the bystander factors produced induces endoplasmic reticulum stress-related cytotoxicity

X. Q. Zhang, Z. Yang, W. F. Benedict

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We have previously shown that adenoviral-mediated interferon α (Ad-IFNα) is cytotoxic both to cells that are sensitive to recombinant interferon α (IFNα) and to cells which are resistant to IFNα. The cancer cell-specific cytotoxic effects of Ad-IFNα involve three different mechanisms: 1. The direct effect of IFNα production causing cancer cell death in IFNα sensitive cells (1); 2. The direct effect of Ad-IFNα infection and high levels of IFNα expression in IFNα resistant cancer cells (2); and 3. The indirect effect of the Ad-IFNα bystander factors produced (2-4). After Ad-IFNα infection, the cells produce a large amount of perinuclear localized IFN protein. This protein over-load could be a major factor in the direct cancer cell death of those cells infected with Ad-IFNα compared with the indirect cytotoxic effects of the bystander factors produced. Here, we investigated whether a component of Ad-IFN-induced cell death involves protein overload-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, using an IFNα-resistant human bladder cancer cell line (KU7), and the normal human urothelial cell line, TERT-NHUC, as preclinical models. We found that the two ER stress response pathways examined were activated in KU7 cells. In contrast, following treatment of the normal TERT-NHUC cells with Ad-IFNα, no ER stress signals were observed. In addition, no ER stress related changes were seen, when KU7 cells were exposed to conditioned medium from Ad-IFNα-treated KU7 cells, indicating that bystander produced cytotoxicity did not involve ER stress. After 24 h of Ad-IFNα infection, the KU7 cancer cells produced spliced X-box binding protein 1 and activating transcription factor 6 protein (ATF6), evoking an ER stress response that could contribute to Ad-IFNα induced apoptosis in these cancer cells. In addition, GADD153/CHOP, GADD34 and BAX were also subsequently modified following activation of the ER stress pathways, thereby signaling downstream effectors in a pro-apoptotic manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-264
Number of pages5
JournalCancer gene therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • adenoviral-mediated interferon α
  • bystander effects
  • ER stress
  • normal bladder and bladder cancer cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research

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