Melanoma differentiation associated gene-7/interleukin 24 (mda-7/IL-24) is a unique interleukin (IL)-10 family cytokine displaying selective apoptosis-inducing activity in transformed cells without harming normal cells. The present studies focused on defining the mechanism(s) by which recombinant adenoviral delivery of MDA-7/IL-24 inhibits cell survival of human ovarian carcinoma cells. Expression of MDA-7/IL-24 induced phosphorylation of protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) and eukaryotic initiation factor2α (eIF2α). In a PERK-dependent fashion, MDA-7/IL-24 reduced ERK1/2 and AKT phosphorylation and activated c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) 1/2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). MDA-7/IL-24 reduced MCL-1 and BCL-XL and increased BAX levels via PERK signaling; cell-killing was mediated via the intrinsic pathway, and cell killing was primarily necrotic as judged using Annexin V/propidium iodide staining. Inhibition of p38 MAPK and JNK1/2 abolished MDA-7/IL-24 toxicity and blocked BAX and BAK activation, whereas activation of mitogen-activated extracellular-regulated kinase (MEK) 1/2 or AKT suppressed enhanced killing and JNK1/2 activation. MEK1/2 signaling increased expression of the MDA-7/IL-24 and PERK chaperone BiP/78-kDa glucose regulated protein (GRP78), and overexpression of BiP/GRP78 suppressed MDA-7/IL-24 toxicity. MDA-7/IL-24-induced LC3-green fluorescent protein vesicularization and processing of LC3; and knockdown of ATG5 suppressed MDA-7/IL-24-mediated toxicity. MDA-7/IL-24 and cisplatin interacted in a greater than additive fashion to kill tumor cells that was dependent on a further elevation of JNK1/2 activity and recruitment of the extrinsic CD95 pathway. MDA-7/IL-24 toxicity was enhanced in a weak additive fashion by paclitaxel; paclitaxel enhanced MDA-7/IL-24 + cisplatin lethality in a greater than additive fashion via BAX. Collectively, our data demonstrate that MDA-7/IL-24 induces an endoplasmic reticulum stress response that activates multiple proapoptotic pathways, culminating in decreased ovarian tumor cell survival.