MACC1 regulates Fas mediated apoptosis through STAT1/3 - Mcl-1 signaling in solid cancers


  • H. Radhakrishnan
  • K. Ilm
  • W. Walther
  • S. Shirasawa
  • T. Sasazuki
  • P.T. Daniel
  • B. Gillissen
  • U. Stein


  • Cancer Letters


  • Canc Lett 403: 231-245


  • MACC1 was identified as a novel player in cancer progression and metastasis, but its role in death receptor-mediated apoptosis is still unexplored. We show that MACC1 knockdown sensitizes cancer cells to death receptor-mediated apoptosis. For the first time, we provide evidence for STAT signaling as a MACC1 target. MACC1 knockdown drastically reduced STAT1/3 activating phosphorylation, thereby regulating the expression of its apoptosis targets Mcl-1 and Fas. STAT signaling inhibition by the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib mimicked MACC1 knockdown-mediated molecular signatures and apoptosis sensitization to Fas activation. Despite the increased Fas expression, the reduced Mcl-1 expression was instrumental in apoptosis sensitization. This reduced Mcl-1-mediated apoptosis sensitization was Bax and Bak dependent. MACC1 knockdown also increased TRAIL-induced apoptosis. MACC1 overexpression enhanced STAT1/3 phosphorylation and increased Mcl-1 expression, which was abrogated by ruxolitinib. The central role of Mcl-1 was strengthened by the resistance of Mcl-1 overexpressing cells to apoptosis induction. The clinical relevance of Mcl-1 regulation by MACC1 was supported by their positive expression correlation in patient-derived tumors. Altogether, we reveal a novel death receptor-mediated apoptosis regulatory mechanism by MACC1 in solid cancers through modulation of the STAT1/3-Mcl-1 axis.