The mitochondrial fission protein hFis1 requires the endoplasmic reticulum gateway to induce apoptosis.
ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial fission ensures organelle inheritance during cell division and participates in apoptosis. The fission protein hFis1 triggers caspase-dependent cell death, by causing the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. Here we show that mitochondrial fission induced by hFis1 is genetically distinct from apoptosis. In cells lacking the multidomain proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bax and Bak (DKO), hFis1 caused mitochondrial fragmentation but not organelle dysfunction and apoptosis. Similarly, a mutant in the intermembrane region of hFis1-induced fission but not cell death, further dissociating mitochondrial fragmentation from apoptosis induction. Selective correction of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) defect of DKO cells restored killing by hFis1, indicating that death by hFis1 relies on the ER gateway of apoptosis. Consistently, hFis1 did not directly activate BAX and BAK, but induced Ca(2+)-dependent mitochondrial dysfunction. Thus, hFis1 is a bifunctional protein that independently regulates mitochondrial fragmentation and ER-mediated apoptosis.
Project description:Apoptosis, induced by a number of death stimuli, is associated with a fragmentation of the mitochondrial network. These morphological changes in mitochondria have been shown to require proteins, such as Drp1 or hFis1, which are involved in regulating the fission of mitochondria. However, the precise role of mitochondrial fission during apoptosis remains elusive. Here we report that inhibiting the fission machinery in Bax/Bak-mediated apoptosis, by down-regulating of Drp1 or hFis1, prevents the fragmentation of the mitochondrial network and partially inhibits the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria but fails to block the efflux of Smac/DIABLO. In addition, preventing mitochondrial fragmentation does not inhibit cell death induced by Bax/Bak-dependent death stimuli, in contrast to the effects of Bcl-xL or caspase inhibition. Therefore, the fission of mitochondria is a dispensable event in Bax/Bak-dependent apoptosis.
Project description:Dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1) plays an important role in mitochondrial fission at steady state and during apoptosis. Using fluorescence recovery after photobleaching, we demonstrate that in healthy cells, yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)-DRP1 recycles between the cytoplasm and mitochondria with a half-time of 50 s. Strikingly, during apoptotic cell death, YFP-DRP1 undergoes a transition from rapid recycling to stable membrane association. The rapid cycling phase that characterizes the early stages of apoptosis is independent of Bax/Bak. However, after Bax recruitment to the mitochondrial membranes but before the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, YFP-DRP1 becomes locked on the membrane, resulting in undetectable fluorescence recovery. This second phase in DRP1 cycling is dependent on the presence of Bax/Bak but independent of hFis1 and mitochondrial fragmentation. Coincident with Bax activation, we detect a Bax/Bak-dependent stimulation of small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 conjugation to DRP1, a modification that correlates with the stable association of DRP1 with mitochondrial membranes. Altogether, these data demonstrate that the apoptotic machinery regulates the biochemical properties of DRP1 during cell death.
Project description:BAX, a member of the BCL2 gene family, controls the committed step of the intrinsic apoptotic program. Mitochondrial fragmentation is a commonly observed feature of apoptosis, which occurs through the process of mitochondrial fission. BAX has consistently been associated with mitochondrial fission, yet how BAX participates in the process of mitochondrial fragmentation during apoptosis remains to be tested. Time-lapse imaging of BAX recruitment and mitochondrial fragmentation demonstrates that rapid mitochondrial fragmentation during apoptosis occurs after the complete recruitment of BAX to the mitochondrial outer membrane (MOM). The requirement of a fully functioning BAX protein for the fission process was demonstrated further in BAX/BAK-deficient HCT116 cells expressing a P168A mutant of BAX. The mutant performed fusion to restore the mitochondrial network. but was not demonstrably recruited to the MOM after apoptosis induction. Under these conditions, mitochondrial fragmentation was blocked. Additionally, we show that loss of the fission protein, dynamin-like protein 1 (DRP1), does not temporally affect the initiation time or rate of BAX recruitment, but does reduce the final level of BAX recruited to the MOM during the late phase of BAX recruitment. These correlative observations suggest a model where late-stage BAX oligomers play a functional part of the mitochondrial fragmentation machinery in apoptotic cells.
Project description:Proapoptotic BCL-2 family members BAX and BAK are required for the initiation of mitochondrial dysfunction during apoptosis and for maintaining the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca(2+) stores necessary for Ca(2+)-dependent cell death. Conversely, antiapoptotic BCL-2 has been shown to decrease Ca(2+) concentration in the ER. We found that Bax(-/-)Bak(-/-) double-knockout (DKO) cells have reduced resting ER Ca(2+) levels because of increased Ca(2+) leak and an increase in the Ca(2+)-permeable, hyperphosphorylated state of the inositol trisphosphate receptor type 1 (IP3R-1). The ER Ca(2+) defect of DKO cells is rescued by RNA interference reduction of IP3R-1, supporting the argument that this channel regulates the increased Ca(2+) leak in these cells. BCL-2 and IP3R-1 physically interact at the ER, and their binding is increased in the absence of BAX and BAK. Moreover, knocking down BCL-2 decreases IP3R-1 phosphorylation and ER Ca(2+) leak rate in the DKO cells. These findings support a model in which BCL-2 family members regulate IP3R-1 phosphorylation to control the rate of ER Ca(2+) leak from intracellular stores.
Project description:Although murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) with Bax or Bak deleted displayed no defect in apoptosis signaling, MEFs with Bax and Bak double knock-out (DKO) showed dramatic resistance to diverse apoptotic stimuli, suggesting that Bax and Bak are redundant but essential regulators for apoptosis signaling. Chelerythrine has recently been identified as a Bcl-xL inhibitor that is capable of triggering apoptosis via direct action on mitochondria. Here we report that in contrast to classic apoptotic stimuli, chelerythrine is fully competent in inducing apoptosis in the DKO MEFs. Wild-type and DKO MEFs are equally sensitive to chelerythrine-induced morphological and biochemical changes associated with apoptosis phenotype. Interestingly, chelerythrine-mediated release of cytochrome c is rapid and precedes Bax translocation and integration. Although the BH3 peptide of Bim is totally inactive in releasing cytochrome c from isolated mitochondria of DKO MEFs, chelerythrine maintains its potency and efficacy in inducing direct release of cytochrome c from these mitochondria. Furthermore, chelerythrine-mediated mitochondrial swelling and loss in mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)) are inhibited by cyclosporine A, suggesting that mitochondrial permeability transition pore is involved in chelerythrine-induced apoptosis. Although certain apoptotic stimuli have been shown to elicit cytotoxic effect in the DKO MEFs through alternate death mechanisms, chelerythrine does not appear to engage necrotic or autophagic death mechanism to trigger cell death in the DKO MEFs. These results, thus, argue for the existence of an alternative Bax/Bak-independent apoptotic mechanism that involves cyclosporine A-sensitive mitochondrial membrane permeability.
Project description:Most intrinsic death signals converge into the activation of pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members BAX and BAK at the mitochondria, resulting in the release of cytochrome c and apoptosome activation. Chronic endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress leads to apoptosis through the upregulation of a subset of pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins, activating BAX and BAK at the mitochondria. Here we provide evidence indicating that the full resistance of BAX and BAK double deficient (DKO) cells to ER stress is reverted by stimulation in combination with mild serum withdrawal. Cell death under these conditions was characterized by the appearance of classical apoptosis markers, caspase-9 activation, release of cytochrome c, and was inhibited by knocking down caspase-9, but insensitive to BCL-X(L) overexpression. Similarly, the resistance of BIM and PUMA double deficient cells to ER stress was reverted by mild serum withdrawal. Surprisingly, BAX/BAK-independent cell death did not require Cyclophilin D (CypD) expression, an important regulator of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore. Our results suggest the existence of an alternative intrinsic apoptosis pathway emerging from a cross talk between the ER and the mitochondria.
Project description:Mitochondrial injury, characterized by outer membrane permeabilization and consequent release of apoptogenic factors, is a key to apoptosis of mammalian cells. Bax and Bak, two multidomain Bcl-2 family proteins, provide a requisite gateway to mitochondrial injury. However it is unclear how Bax and Bak cooperate to provoke mitochondrial injury and whether their roles are redundant. Here, we have identified a unique role of Bak in mitochondrial fragmentation, a seemingly morphological event that contributes to mitochondrial injury during apoptosis. We show that mitochondrial fragmentation is attenuated in Bak-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts, baby mouse kidney cells, and, importantly, also in primary neurons isolated from brain cortex of Bak-deficient mice. In sharp contrast, Bax deficiency does not prevent mitochondrial fragmentation during apoptosis. Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL inhibit mitochondrial fragmentation, and their inhibitory effects depend on the presence of Bak. Reconstitution of Bak into Bax/Bak double-knockout cells restores mitochondrial fragmentation, whereas reconstitution of Bax is much less effective. Bak interacts with Mfn1 and Mfn2, two mitochondrial fusion proteins. During apoptosis, Bak dissociates from Mfn2 and enhances the association with Mfn1. Mutation of Bak in the BH3 domain prevents its dissociation from Mfn2 and diminishes its mitochondrial fragmentation activity. This study has uncovered a previously unrecognized function of Bak in the regulation of mitochondrial morphological dynamics during apoptosis. By this function, Bak may collaborate with Bax to permeabilize the outer membrane of mitochondria, unleashing the apoptotic cascade.
Project description:Mitochondrial dynamics is important for life. At centre stage for mitochondrial dynamics - the balance between mitochondrial fission and fusion - is a set of dynamin-related GTPases that drive mitochondrial fission and fusion. Fission is executed by the GTPases Drp1 and Dyn2, whereas the GTPases Mfn1, Mfn2 and OPA1 promote fusion. Recruitment of Drp1 to mitochondria is a critical step in fission. In yeast, Fis1p recruits the Drp1 homolog Dnm1p to mitochondria through Mdv1p and Caf4p, but whether human Fis1 (hFis1) promotes fission through a similar mechanism as in yeast is not established. Here we show that hFis1-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation occurs in the absence of Drp1 and Dyn2, suggesting that they are dispensable for hFis1 function. hFis1 instead binds to Mfn1, Mfn2 and OPA1 and inhibits their GTPase activity, thus blocking the fusion machinery. Consistent with this, disruption of the fusion machinery in Drp1-/- cells phenocopies the fragmentation phenotype induced by hFis1 overexpression. In sum, our data suggest a novel role for hFis1 as an inhibitor of the fusion machinery, revealing an important functional evolutionary divergence between yeast and mammalian Fis1 proteins.
Project description:Mitochondrial dynamics is important for life. At center stage for mitochondrial dynamics, the balance between mitochondrial fission and fusion is a set of dynamin-related GTPases that drive mitochondrial fission and fusion. Fission is executed by the GTPases Drp1 and Dyn2, whereas the GTPases Mfn1, Mfn2, and OPA1 promote fusion. Recruitment of Drp1 to mitochondria is a critical step in fission. In yeast, Fis1p recruits the Drp1 homolog Dnm1p to mitochondria through Mdv1p and Caf4p, but whether human Fis1 (hFis1) promotes fission through a similar mechanism as in yeast is not established. Here, we show that hFis1-mediated mitochondrial fragmentation occurs in the absence of Drp1 and Dyn2, suggesting that they are dispensable for hFis1 function. hFis1 instead binds to Mfn1, Mfn2, and OPA1 and inhibits their GTPase activity, thus blocking the fusion machinery. Consistent with this, disruption of the fusion machinery in Drp1-/- cells phenocopies the fragmentation phenotype induced by hFis1 overexpression. In sum, our data suggest a novel role for hFis1 as an inhibitor of the fusion machinery, revealing an important functional evolutionary divergence between yeast and mammalian Fis1 proteins.
Project description:During apoptosis, the mitochondrial network fragments. Using short hairpin RNAs for RNA interference, we manipulated the expression levels of the proteins hFis1, Drp1, and Opa1 that are involved in mitochondrial fission and fusion in mammalian cells, and we characterized their functions in mitochondrial morphology and apoptosis. Down-regulation of hFis1 powerfully inhibits cell death to an extent significantly greater than down-regulation of Drp1 and at a stage of apoptosis distinct from that induced by Drp1 inhibition. Cells depleted of Opa1 are extremely sensitive to exogenous apoptosis induction, and some die spontaneously by a process that requires hFis1 expression. Wild-type Opa1 may function normally as an antiapoptotic protein, keeping spontaneous apoptosis in check. However, if hFis1 is down-regulated, cells do not require Opa1 to prevent apoptosis, suggesting that Opa1 may be normally counteracting the proapoptotic action of hFis1. We also demonstrate in this study that mitochondrial fragmentation per se does not result in apoptosis. However, we provide further evidence that multiple components of the mitochondrial morphogenesis machinery can positively and negatively regulate apoptosis.