Cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 has been implicated in cancer development. However, resveratrol-induced nuclear accumulation of COX-2 enhances p53-dependent anti-proliferation in different types of cancers. Treatment with resveratrol leads to phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK1/2), and accumulation of nuclear COX-2 to complex with pERK1/2 and p53. The consequence is Ser-15 phosphorylation of p53 (pSer15-p53), and induction of anti-proliferation in cancer cells. We investigated the mechanisms by which resveratrol-inducible COX-2 facilitates p53-dependent anti-proliferation in prostate cancer LNCaP cells. Resveratrol treatment caused nuclear accumulation and complexing of ERK1/2, pSer15-p53 and COX-2 which was activated ERK1/2-dependent. Knockdown of SUMO-1 by shRNA also reduced nuclear accumulation of COX-2. Inhibition of nuclear accumulation by the COX-2 specific inhibitor, NS-398, inhibited co-localization of nuclear COX-2 and SUMO-1. Similar results were observed in the PD98059-treated cells. Finally, inhibition of SUMO-1 expression also reduced resveratrol-induced expression of pro-apoptotic genes but increased the expression of proliferative genes. In summary, these results demonstrate that inducible COX-2 associates with phosphorylated ERK1/2 to induce the phosphorylation of Ser-15 in p53 and then complexes with p53 and SUMO-1 which binds to p53-responsive pro-apoptotic genes to enhance their expression. The inhibition of COX-2 expression and activity significantly blocks the pro-apoptotic effect of resveratrol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Inducible COX-2
  • p53 and anti-proliferation
  • Resveratrol
  • Sumoylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology

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