It has recently become apparent that the microenvironment made up of the extracellular matrix may affect cell signaling. In this study, we evaluated Fas-triggered apoptosis in T cells in contact with tumor cells, which resembles the cell-to-cell interactions found in tumor regions. Jurkat cells were less susceptible to the Fas-mediated apoptosis when cocultured with U118, HeLa, A549, and Huh-7 tumor cells. This was indicated by less plasma membrane alteration, an amelioration of the loss of mitochondria membrane potential, a decrease in caspase-8 and caspase-3 activation, a decrease in DNA fragmentation factor-45/35 cleavage, and a reduction in the breakage of DNA when compared with Jurkat cells cultured alone. In contrast, the tumor cell lines MCF-7 and HepG2 produced no such protective effect. This protective event was independent of the expression of Fas ligand on the tumor cells. Interrupting the β integrins-matrix interaction diminished the coculture effect. In Jurkat cells, cell matrix contact reduced the assembly of the Fas death-inducing signaling complex and Bcl-xL cleavage, but enhanced the phosphorylation of ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and Akt. Only PI3K inhibitor, but not kinase inhibitors for MEK, ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, JNK, protein kinase C, and protein kinase A, completely abolished this tumor cell contact-associated protection and in parallel restored Fas-induced Bcl-xL cleavage as well as decreasing the phosphorylation of Bad at serine 136. Together, our results indicate that stimulation of the β integrin signal of T cells by contact with tumor cells may trigger a novel protective signaling through the PI3K/Akt pathway of T cells against Fas-mediated apoptosis.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy