June 24, 2020

Imig et al. published in PLOS Computational Biology

Sample-based modeling reveals bidirectional interplay between cell cycle progression and extrinsic apoptosis

Dirke Imig, Nadine Pollak, Frank Allgöwer, Markus Rehm



Apoptotic cell death can be initiated through the extrinsic and intrinsic signaling pathways. While cell cycle progression promotes the responsiveness to intrinsic apoptosis induced by genotoxic stress or spindle poisons, this has not yet been studied conclusively for extrinsic apoptosis. Here, we combined fluorescence-based time-lapse monitoring of cell cycle progression and cell death execution by long-term time-lapse microscopy with sampling-based mathematical modeling to study cell cycle dependency of TRAIL-induced extrinsic apoptosis in NCI-H460/geminin cells. In particular, we investigated the interaction of cell death timing and progression of cell cycle states. We not only found that TRAIL prolongs cycle progression, but in reverse also that cell cycle progression affects the kinetics of TRAIL-induced apoptosis: Cells exposed to TRAIL in G1 died significantly faster than cells stimulated in S/G2/M. The connection between cell cycle state and apoptosis progression was captured by developing a mathematical model, for which parameter estimation revealed that apoptosis progression decelerates in the second half of the cell cycle. Similar results were also obtained when studying HCT-116 cells. Our results therefore reject the null hypothesis of independence between cell cycle progression and extrinsic apoptosis and, supported by simulations and experiments of synchronized cell populations, suggest that unwanted escape from TRAIL-induced apoptosis can be reduced by enriching the fraction of cells in G1 phase. Besides novel insight into the interrelation of cell cycle progression and extrinsic apoptosis signaling kinetics, our findings are therefore also relevant for optimizing future TRAIL-based treatment strategies.


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