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Nitric oxide donors inhibit formation of the Apaf-1/caspase-9 apoptosome and activation of caspases.


ABSTRACT: Caspases are critical for the initiation and execution of apoptosis. Nitric oxide (NO) or derived species can prevent programmed cell death in several cell types, reportedly through S-nitrosation and inactivation of active caspases. Although we find that S-nitrosation of caspases can occur in vitro, our study questions whether this post-translational modification is solely responsible for NO-mediated inhibition of apoptosis. Indeed, using Jurkat cells as a model system, we demonstrate that NO donors block Fas- and etoposide-induced caspase activation and apoptosis (downstream of mitochondrial membrane depolarization) and cytochrome c release. However, caspase activity was not restored by the strong reducing agent dithiothreitol, as predicted for S-nitrosation reactions, thereby excluding active-site-thiol modification of caspases as the only anti-apoptotic mechanism of NO donors in cells. Rather, we observed that processing of procaspases-9, -3 and -8 was decreased due to ineffective formation of the Apaf-1/caspase-9 apoptosome. Gel-filtration and in vitro binding assays indicated that NO donors inhibit correct assembly of Apaf-1 into an active approx. 700 kDa apoptosome complex, and markedly attenuate caspase-recruitment domain (CARD)-CARD interactions between Apaf-1 and procaspase-9. Therefore we suggest that NO or a metabolite acts directly at the level of the apoptosome and inhibits the sequential activation of caspases-9, -3 and -8, which are required for both stress- and receptor-induced death in cells that use the mitochondrial subroute of cell demise.

SUBMITTER: Zech B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC1223357 | BioStudies | 2003-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): 10.1042/BJ20021720

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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