Fisetin is a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables such as strawberries, apples, cucumbers, and onions. Since fisetin can elicit anti-cancer effects, including anti-proliferation and anti-migration, we investigated whether fisetin induced apoptosis in human renal carcinoma (Caki) cells. Fisetin markedly induced sub-G1 population and cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), which is a marker of apoptosis, and increased caspase activation. We found that pan-caspase inhibitor (z-VAD-fmk) inhibited fisetin-induced apoptosis. In addition, fisetin induced death receptor 5 (DR5) expression at the transcriptional level, and down-regulation of DR5 by siRNA blocked fisetin-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, fisetin induced p53 protein expression through up-regulation of protein stability, whereas down-regulation of p53 by siRNA markedly inhibited fisetin-induced DR5 expression. In contrast, fisetin induced up-regulation of CHOP expression and reactive oxygen species production, which had no effect on fisetin-induced apoptosis. Taken together, our study demonstrates that fisetin induced apoptosis through p53 mediated up-regulation of DR5 expression at the transcriptional level.
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