The SOCE (store-operated Ca2+ entry) pathway plays a key role in both normal cells and cancerous cells. However, its molecular mechanism remains a long-lasting puzzle of Ca2+ signalling. In this paper, we provide evidence that butyric acid, a dietary fibre-derived short-chain fatty acid, induces apoptosis of colon cancer cells via SOCE signalling networks. We found that sodium butyrate (NaB) induces Ca2+ release from endoplasmic reticulum, which in turn causes extracellular Ca2+ influx in HCT-116 cells. The Ca2+ release and influx are important, because the addition of chelators, EGTA or BAPTA/AM [1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetra-acetic acid tetrakis(acetoxymethyl ester)] respectively blocked NaB-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, down-regulation of STIM1 (stromal interaction molecule 1) by RNA interference or pharmacological blockade of the SOCC (store-operated Ca2+ channel) by 2-APB (2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate) or SKF-96365 inhibited NaB-induced extracellular Ca2+ influx and apoptosis in HCT-116 cells. Thus we conclude that NaB triggers colon cancer cell apoptosis in an SOCE-dependent manner. This finding provides new insights into how butyric acid suppresses colon carcinogenesis.

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