Chelerythrine induces apoptosis through a Bax/Bak-independent mitochondrial mechanism.
ABSTRACT: 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:Truncated BID (tBID), a proapoptotic BCL2 family protein, induces BAK/BAX-dependent release of cytochrome c and other mitochondrial intermembrane proteins to the cytosol to induce apoptosis. The voltage-dependent anion channels (VDACs) are the primary gates for solutes across the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM); however, their role in apoptotic OMM permeabilization remains controversial. Here, we report that VDAC2(-/-) (V2(-/-)) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) are virtually insensitive to tBID-induced OMM permeabilization and apoptosis, whereas VDAC1(-/-), VDAC3(-/-) and VDAC1(-/-)/VDAC3(-/-) MEFs respond normally to tBID. V2(-/-) MEFs regain tBID sensitivity after VDAC2 expression. Furthermore, V2(-/-) MEFs are deficient in mitochondrial BAK despite normal tBID-mitochondrial binding and BAX/BAK expression. tBID sensitivity of BAK(-/-) MEFs is also reduced, although not to the same extent as V2(-/-) MEFs, which might result from their strong overexpression of BAX. Indeed, addition of recombinant BAX also sensitized V2(-/-) MEFs to tBID. Thus, VDAC2 acts as a crucial component in mitochondrial apoptosis by allowing the mitochondrial recruitment of BAK, thereby controlling tBID-induced OMM permeabilization and cell death.
Project description:The canonical function of Bcl-2 family proteins is to regulate mitochondrial membrane integrity. In response to apoptotic signals the multi-domain pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and Bak are activated and perforate the mitochondrial outer membrane by a mechanism which is inhibited by their interaction with pro-survival members of the family. However, other studies have shown that Bax and Bak may have additional, non-canonical functions, which include stress-induced nuclear envelope rupture and discharge of nuclear proteins into the cytosol. We show here that the apoptotic stimuli cisplatin and staurosporine induce a Bax/Bak-dependent degradation and subcellular redistribution of nesprin-1 and nesprin-2 but not nesprin-3, of the linker of nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex. The degradation and redistribution were caspase-independent and did not occur in Bax/Bak double knockout (DKO) mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). Re-expression of Bax in Bax/Bak DKO MEFs restored stress-induced redistribution of nesprin-2 by a mechanism which requires Bax membrane localization and integrity of the ? helices 5/6, and the Bcl-2 homology 3 (BH3) domain. We found that nesprin-2 interacts with Bax in close proximity to perinuclear mitochondria in mouse and human cells. This interaction requires the mitochondrial targeting and N-terminal region but not the BH3 domain of Bax. Our results identify nesprin-2 as a Bax binding partner and also a new function of Bax in impairing the integrity of the LINC complex.
Project description:Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) is an AB(5) cytotoxin produced by some strains of Shiga-toxigenic Escherichia coli. The A subunit is a subtilase-like serine protease and cleaves an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) chaperone, BiP, leading to transient inhibition of protein synthesis and cell cycle arrest at G(1) phase, and inducing caspase-dependent apoptosis via mitochondrial membrane damage in Vero cells. Here we investigated the mechanism of mitochondrial permeabilization in HeLa cells. SubAB-induced cytochrome c release into cytosol did not depend on mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP), since cyclosporine A did not suppress cytochrome c release. SubAB did not change the expression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL and pro-apoptotic Bax or Bak, but triggered Bax and Bak conformational changes and association of Bax with Bak. Silencing using siRNA of both bax and bak genes, but not bax, bak, or bim alone, resulted in reduction of cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, DNA ladder formation and cytotoxicity, indicating that Bax and Bak were involved in apoptosis. SubAB activated ER transmembrane transducers, Ire1alpha, and cJun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and induced C/EBF-homologue protein (CHOP). To investigate whether these signals were involved in cytochrome c release by Bax activation, we silenced ire1alpha, jnk or chop; however, silencing did not decrease SubAB-induced cytochrome c release, suggesting that these signals were not necessary for SubAB-induced mitochondrial permeabilization by Bax activation.
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:Pseudomonas aeruginosa use N-(3-oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone (C12) as a quorum-sensing molecule to regulate gene expression in the bacteria. It is expected that in patients with chronic infections with P.?aeruginosa, especially as biofilms, local [C12] will be high and, since C12 is lipid soluble, diffuse from the airways into the epithelium and underlying fibroblasts, capillary endothelia and white blood cells. Previous work showed that C12 has multiple effects in human host cells, including activation of apoptosis. The present work tested the involvement of Bak and Bax in C12-triggered apoptosis in mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) by comparing MEF isolated from embryos of wild-type (WT) and Bax(-/-) /Bak(-/-) (DKO) mice. In WT MEF C12 rapidly triggered (minutes to 2?h): activation of caspases 3/7 and 8, depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential (??mito ), release of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytosol, blebbing of plasma membranes, shrinkage/condensation of cells and nuclei and, subsequently, cell killing. A DKO MEF line that was relatively unaffected by the Bak/Bax-dependent proapoptotic stimulants staurosporine and etoposide responded to C12 similarly to WT MEF: activation of caspase 3/7, depolarization of ??mito and release of cytochrome C and cell death. Re-expression of Bax or Bak in DKO MEF did not alter the WT-like responses to C12 in DKO MEF. These data showed that C12 triggers novel, rapid proapoptotic Bak/Bax-independent responses that include events commonly associated with activation of both the intrinsic pathway (depolarization of ??mito and release of cytochrome C from mitochondria into the cytosol) and the extrinsic pathway (activation of caspase 8). Unlike the proapoptotic agonists staurosporine and etoposide that release cytochrome C from mitochondria, C12's effects do not require participation of either Bak or Bax.
Project description: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:Intrinsic apoptotic stimuli initiate mammalian cells' apoptotic program by first activating the proteins that have only Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3), such as Bcl-2 interacting mediator of cell death (Bim) and truncated BH3 interacting death domain agonist (tBid), which in turn trigger conformational changes in BCL2-associated X (Bax) and BCL2-antagonist/killer (Bak) proteins that enable oligomer formation on the mitochondria, causing cytochrome c and other apoptogenic proteins in the intermembrane space to leak out. Leaked cytochrome c then initiates apoptotic caspase activation through a well-defined biochemical pathway. However, how oligomerized Bax and Bak cause cytochrome c release from mitochondria remains unknown. We report here the establishment of cell lines in which Bim or tBid can be inducibly expressed to initiate apoptosis in a controlled, quantitative manner. We used these cell lines to examine apoptotic events after Bax and Bak oligomerization but before cytochrome c release. The mitochondrial metalloprotease OMA1 was activated in this system in a Bax- and Bak-dependent fashion. Activated OMA1 cleaved the dynamin-like GTPase, optical nerve atrophy 1, an event that is critical for remodeling of mitochondrial cristae. Knockdown or knockout of OMA1 in these cells attenuated cytochrome c release. Thus it is clear that oligomerized Bax and Bak trigger apoptosis by causing both the permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane and activation OMA1.
Project description:Bak and Bax are critical apoptotic mediators that naturally localize to both mitochondria and the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Although it is generally accepted that mitochondrial expression of Bak or Bax suffices for apoptosis initiated by BH3-only homologues, it is currently unclear whether their reticular counterparts may have a similar potential. In this study, we show that cells exclusively expressing Bak in endoplasmic membranes undergo cytochrome c mobilization and mitochondrial apoptosis in response to BimEL and Puma, even when these BH3-only molecules are also targeted to the ER. Surprisingly, calcium was necessary but not sufficient to drive the pathway, despite normal ER calcium levels. We provide evidence that calcium functions coordinately with the ER-stress surveillance machinery IRE1alpha/TRAF2 to transmit apoptotic signals from the reticulum to mitochondria. These results indicate that BH3-only mediators can rely on reticular Bak to activate an ER-to-mitochondria signalling route able to induce cytochrome c release and apoptosis independently of the canonical Bak,Bax-dependent mitochondrial gateway, thus revealing a new layer of complexity in apoptotic regulation.
Project description:Bnip3 is a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family that is down-regulated in pancreatic cancers, which correlates with resistance to chemotherapy and a worsened prognosis. In contrast, Bnip3 is up-regulated in heart failure and contributes to loss of myocardial cells during I/R (ischaemia/reperfusion). Bnip3 exerts its action at the mitochondria, but the mechanism by which Bnip3 mediates mitochondrial dysfunction is not clear. In the present study, we have identified Bax and Bak as downstream effectors of Bnip3-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. Bnip3 plays a role in hypoxia-mediated cell death, but MEFs (mouse embryonic fibroblasts) derived from mice deficient in Bax and Bak were completely resistant to hypoxia even with substantial up-regulation of Bnip3. These cells were also resistant to Bnip3 overexpression, but re-expression of Bax or Bak restored susceptibility to Bnip3, suggesting that Bnip3 can act via either Bax or Bak. In contrast, Bnip3 overexpression in wild-type MEFs induced mitochondrial dysfunction with loss of membrane potential and release of cytochrome c. Cell death by Bnip3 was reduced in the presence of mPTP (mitochondrial permeability transition pore) inhibitors, but did not prevent Bnip3-mediated activation of Bax or Bak. Moreover, overexpression of Bnip3DeltaTM, a dominant-negative form of Bnip3, reduced translocation of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-Bax to mitochondria during sI/R (simulated I/R) in HL-1 myocytes. Similarly, down-regulation of Bnip3 using RNA interference decreased activation of Bax in response to sI/R in HL-1 myocytes. These results suggest that Bnip3 mediates mitochondrial dysfunction through activation of Bax or Bak which is independent of mPTP opening.
Project description:Apoptosis is an intricately regulated cellular process that proceeds through different cell type- and signal-dependent pathways. In the mitochondrial apoptotic program, mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization by BCL-2 proteins leads to the release of apoptogenic factors, caspase activation, and cell death. In addition to protein components of the mitochondrial apoptotic machinery, an interesting role for lipids and lipid metabolism in BCL-2 family-regulated apoptosis is also emerging. We used a comparative lipidomics approach to uncover alterations in lipid profile in the absence of the proapoptotic proteins BAX and BAK in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). We detected over 1,000 ions in these experiments and found changes in an ion with an m/z of 534.49. Structural elucidation of this ion through tandem mass spectrometry revealed that this molecule is a ceramide with a 16-carbon N-acyl chain and sphingadiene backbone (d18:2/16:0 ceramide). Targeted LC/MS analysis revealed elevated levels of additional sphingadiene-containing ceramides (d18:2-Cers) in BAX, BAK-double knockout MEFs. Elevated d18:2-Cers are also found in immortalized baby mouse kidney epithelial cells lacking BAX and BAK. These results support the existence of a distinct biochemical pathway for regulating ceramides with different backbone structures and suggest that sphingadiene-containing ceramides may have functions that are distinct from the more common sphingosine-containing species.