It is known that treatments with heat shock, some anticancer drugs, and ionizing radiation increase the expression of heat-shock proteins (HSPs) and natural killer group 2D (NKG2D) ligands in tumor cells. The increased HSPs may make the tumor cells resistant to apoptosis and reduction of HSPs may make the tumor cells more susceptible to natural killer (NK)-cell mediated lysis of tumor cells. In this study, we investigated whether quercetin which has inhibitory activities against heat-shock factor, protein kinase C, nuclear factor-kappaB, and phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase, can modulate the expression of NKG2D ligands and suppress the HSPs in tumor cells. The results of this study showed that quercetin significantly induced the expression of several NKG2D ligands including major histocompatibility complex class I-related chain B, UL16-binding protein 1, and UL16-binding protein 2 in K562, SNU1, and SNU-C4 cells. The quercetin-treated K562, SNU1, and SNU-C4 cells showed an enhanced susceptibility to NK-92 cells through induction of NKG2D ligands. This increased expression of NKG2D ligands seemed to be due to the inhibition of the nuclear factor-kappaB and phosphatidyl inositol 3-kinase pathways. The findings of this study suggest that the induced NKG2D ligands with the decrease of HSP70 protein by quercetin may provide an attractive strategy to improve the effectiveness of NK cell-based cancer immunotherapy.
Bae JH, Kim JY, Kim MJ, Chang SH, Park YS, Son CH, Park SJ, Chung JS, Lee EY, Kim SH, Kang CD Quercetin enhances susceptibility to NK cell-mediated lysis of tumor cells through induction of NKG2D ligands and suppression of HSP70. J Immunother. 2010 May Department of Biochemistry, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Yangsan, South Korea.