Phosphaplatins, platinum(II) and platinum(IV) complexes coordinated to a pyrophosphate moiety, exhibit excellent antitumor activities against a variety of cancers. To determine whether phosphaplatins trigger resistance to treatment by engaging DNA damage repair genes, a yeast genome-wide fitness assay was used. Treatment of yeast cells with pyrodach-2 (D2) or pyrodach-4 (D4) revealed no particular sensitivity to nucleotide excision repair, homologous recombination repair, or postreplication repair when compared with platin control compounds. Also, TNF receptor superfamily member 6 (FAS) protein was overexpressed in phosphaplatin-treated ovarian tumor cells, and platinum colocalized with FAS protein in lipid rafts. An overactivation of sphingomyelinase (ASMase) was noted in the treated cells, indicating participation of an extrinsic apoptotic mechanism due to increased ceramide release. Our results indicate that DNA is not the target of phosphaplatins and accordingly, that phosphaplatins might not cause resistance to treatment. Activation of ASMase and FAS along with the colocalization of platinum with FAS in lipid rafts support an extrinsic apoptotic signaling mechanism that is mediated by phosphaplatins.
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