Signaling through C/EBP homologous protein and death receptor 5 and calpain activation differentially regulate THP-1 cell maturation-dependent apoptosis induced by Shiga toxin type 1. Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • Shiga toxins (Stxs) induce apoptosis via activation of the intrinsic and extrinsic pathways in many cell types. Toxin-mediated activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response was shown to be instrumental in initiating apoptosis in THP-1 myeloid leukemia cells. THP-1 cells responded to Shiga toxin type 1 (Stx1) in a cell maturation-dependent manner, undergoing rapid apoptosis in the undifferentiated state but reduced and delayed apoptosis in differentiated cells. The onset of apoptosis was associated with calpain activation and changes in expression of C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP), Bcl-2 family members, and death receptor 5 (DR5). Ligation of DR5 by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) activates the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. We show here that expression of TRAIL and DR5 is increased by Stx1 treatment. Addition of exogenous TRAIL enhances, and anti-TRAIL antibodies inhibit, Stx1-induced apoptosis of THP-1 cells. Silencing of CHOP or DR5 expression selectively prevented caspase activation, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and Stx1-induced apoptosis of macrophage-like THP-1 cells. In contrast, the rapid kinetics of apoptosis induction in monocytic THP-1 cells correlated with rates of calpain cleavage. The results suggest that CHOP-DR5 signaling and calpain activation differentially contribute to cell maturation-dependent Stx1-induced apoptosis. Inhibition of these signaling pathways may protect cells from Stx cytotoxicity.

author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, M., Cherla, R. P., Lentz, E. K., Leyva-Illades, D., & Tesh, V. L.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Moo-Seung||Cherla, Rama P||Lentz, Erin K||Leyva-Illades, Dinorah||Tesh, Vernon L

publication date

  • August 2010