Activation of nuclear TR3 (NR4A1) by a diindolylmethane analog induces apoptosis and proapoptotic genes in pancreatic cancer cells and tumors

Kyungsil Yoon, Syng Ook Lee, Sung Dae Cho, Kyounghyun Kim, Shaheen Khan, Stephen Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Scopus citations


NR4A1 (Nur77, TR3) is overexpressed in pancreatic tumors and activation of TR3 by 1,1-bis(3′-indolyl)-1-(p-methoxyphenyl)methane (DIM-C-pPhOCH3) inhibits cell and tumor growth and induces apoptosis. Microarray analysis demonstrates that in L3.6pL pancreatic cancer cells DIM-C-pPhOCH3 induces genes associated with metabolism, homeostasis, signal transduction, transcription, stress, transport, immune responses, growth inhibition and apoptosis. Among the most highly induced growth inhibitory and proapoptotic genes including activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), p21, cystathionase, dual specificity phosphatase 1 and growth differentiation factor 15, RNA interference studies demonstrated that induction of all but the later gene by DIM-C-pPhOCH3 were TR3-dependent. We also observed that DIM-C-pPhOCH3 induced Fas ligand and tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and induction of TRAIL was ATF3 dependent. Results of this and previous studies demonstrate that TR3 is unique among nuclear receptors since nuclear TR3 is activated or deactivated by diindolylmethane derivatives to induce different apoptotic and growth inhibitory pathways that inhibit pancreatic cancer cell and tumor growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-842
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 14 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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