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Overexpression of Smac Promotes Cisplatin-Induced Apoptosis by Activating Caspase-3 and Caspase-9 in Lung Cancer A549 Cells

Second mitochondrial-derived activator of caspase (Smac) plays crucial roles in mitochondrial apoptosis pathways and promotes chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. In this study, Smac levels were examined in various lung cancer cell lines, and the effects of overexpressed Smac in the nonsmall-cell lung cancer cell line A549 were assayed by stable transfection of Smac. Subsequently, MTT assays, cell counting, and flow cytometry were applied to show that overexpression of Smac inhibits cell viability and cell growth and enhances apoptosis after cisplatin treatment. Western blotting was performed before and after cisplatin treatment to demonstrate that drug treatment could release Smac from mitochondria into the cytosol and promote apoptosis by activating caspase-3 and caspase-9. Promotion of apoptosis by cytosolic Smac could be blocked by pretreating cells with the caspase-9 inhibitor z-LEHD-FMK. Our findings indicate that overexpressed Smac significantly inhibited A549 cell growth and promoted apoptosis following cisplatin treatment due to the release of Smac from mitochondria into the cytosol, which increased the activities of caspase-3 and caspase-9.

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