Colon epithelial cells have a defined life span and undergo terminal differentiation as they mature and migrate to the luminal surface. The differentiation process can be induced in cultured colon cancer cells by sodium butyrate, which induces expression of various differentiation markers followed subsequently by cell death. In the present study, HT29 colorectal carcinoma cells were shown to undergo butyrate-induced caspase activation that was mainly produced through a mitochondrial pathway. Inhibition of caspase activation, either by peptide pan caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, by caspase 9 inhibitor Z-LEHD-FMK, or by overexpression of Bcl-XL, also inhibited the expression of differentiation markers. These findings suggest (a) that terminal differentiation of HT29 colon carcinoma cells is tightly linked to caspase activation and (b) that increased expression of anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins, as well as other inhibitors of caspase activation, has the potential to inhibit terminal differentiation and thereby may contribute to the progression of colon cancer.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics|
|State||Published - Apr 15 2004|
- Colorectal carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology