Cervical cancer is an important health issue for women worldwide, and the endoplasmic reticulum stress pathway is important for determining the chemotherapeutic response to cancer. However, the role of glucose-regulated protein 94 (GRP94) in taxane therapy for cervical cancer remains unclear. In this study, we generated GRP94 knockdown (GRP94-KD) Hela cells using short hairpin RNAs and found that GRP94-KD cells were resistant to taxane treatment in an MTT assay. Scrambled control cells demonstrated higher levels of apoptosis when treated with taxanes in comparison to GRP94-KD cells, as determined by cell cycle profiling, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling staining. Caspase 3 and caspase 7 activity was also higher in scrambled control cells treated with taxane in comparison to GRP94-KD cells. Moreover, we found that depletion of GRP94 altered the levels of the apoptosis-related proteins Bcl2 and Bad, leading to sensitivity to taxane. Exposure to taxane also induced the expression of Bad in scrambled cells but not in GRP94-KD cells. In addition, the expression of Bcl2 was increased dramatically in GRP94-KD cells, whereas only a small increase was observed in scrambled cells. Therefore, we conclude that silencing GRP94 may increase resistance to taxane treatment in cervical cancer cells by altering the activation of the apoptosis pathway. In addition, GRP94 may represent a key biomarker for determining the therapeutic efficacy of taxane treatment in cervical cancer patients.
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