Autocrine regulation of mda-7/IL-24 mediates cancer-specific apoptosis

Moira Sauane, Zao Zhong Su, Pankaj Gupta, Irina V. Lebedeva, Paul Dent, Devanand Sarkar, Paul B. Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


A noteworthy aspect of melanoma differentiation-associated gene-7/interleukin-24 (mda-7/IL-24) as a cancer therapeutic is its ability to selectively kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. Intracellular MDA-7/IL-24 protein, generated from an adenovirus expressing mda-7/IL-24 (Ad.mda-7), induces cancer-specific apoptosis by inducing an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response. Secreted MDA-7/IL-24 protein, generated from cells infected with Ad.mda-7, induces growth inhibition and apoptosis in surrounding noninfected cancer cells but not in normal cells, thus exerting an anti-tumor "bystander" effect. The present studies reveal a provocative finding that recombinant MDA-7/IL-24 protein can robustly induce expression of endogenous mda-7/IL-24, which generates the signaling events necessary for bystander killing. To evaluate the mechanism underlying this positive autocrine feedback loop, we show that MDA-7/IL-24 protein induces stabilization of its own mRNA without activating its promoter. Furthermore, this posttranscriptional effect depends on de novo protein synthesis. As a consequence of this autocrine feedback loop MDA-7/IL-24 protein induces sustained ER stress as evidenced by expression of ER stress markers (BiP/GRP78, GRP94, GADD153, and phosphoeIF2α) and reactive oxygen species production, indicating that both intracellular and secreted proteins activate similar signaling pathways to induce apoptosis. Thus, our results clarify the molecular mechanism by which secreted MDA-7/IL-24 protein (generated from Ad.mda-7-infected cells) exerts cancer-specific killing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9763-9768
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 15 2008


  • Bystander antitumor activity
  • Cancer-specific killing
  • Endoplasmic reticulum stress
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • mRNA stabalization


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