Proapoptotic function of deubiquitinase DUSP31 in Drosophila.
ABSTRACT: Drosophila have been used to identify new components in apoptosis regulation. The Drosophila protein Dark forms an octameric apoptosome complex that induces the initiator caspase Dronc to trigger the caspase cell death pathway and, therefore, plays an important role in controlling apoptosis. Caspases and Dark are constantly expressed in cells, but their activity is blocked by DIAP1 E3 ligase-mediated ubiquitination and subsequent inactivation or proteasomal degradation. One of the regulatory mechanisms that stabilize proapoptotic factors is the removal of ubiquitin chains by deubiquitinases. In this study performed a modified genetic screen for deubiquitinases (dsRNA lines) to identify those involved in stabilizing proapoptotic components. Loss-of-function alleles of deubiquitinase DUSP31 were identified as suppressors of the Dronc overexpression phenotype. DUSP31 deficiency also suppresses apoptosis induced by the RHG protein, Grim. Genetic analysis revealed for the first time that DUSP31 deficiency sufficiently suppresses the Dark phenotype, indicating its involvement in the control of Dark/Dronc apoptosome function in invertebrate apoptosis.
Project description:Apart from their roles as chaperones, heat shock proteins are involved in other vital activities including apoptosis with mammalian Hsp60 being ascribed proapoptotic as well as antiapoptotic roles. Using conditional RNAi or overexpression of Hsp60D, a member of the Hsp60 family in Drosophila melanogaster, we show that the downregulation of this protein blocks caspase-dependent induced apoptosis. GMR-Gal4-driven RNAi for Hsp60D in developing eyes dominantly suppressed cell death caused by expression of Reaper, Hid, or Grim (RHG), the key activators of canonical cell death pathway. Likewise, Hsp60D-RNAi rescued cell death induced by GMR-Gal4-directed expression of full-length and activated DRONC. Overexpression of Hsp60D enhanced cell death induced either by directed expression of RHG or DRONC. However, the downregulation of Hsp60D failed to suppress apoptosis caused by unguarded caspases in DIAP1-RNAi flies. Furthermore, in DIAP1-RNAi background, Hsp60D-RNAi also failed to inhibit apoptosis induced by RHG expression. The Hsp60 and DIAP1 show diffuse and distinct granular overlapping distributions in the photoreceptor cells with the bulk of both proteins being outside the mitochondria. Depletion of either of these proteins disrupts the granular distribution of the other. We suggest that in the absence of Hsp60D, DIAP1 is unable to dissociate from effecter and executioner caspases, which thus remain inactive.
Project description:Apoptosis is executed by a cascade of caspase activation. The autocatalytic activation of an initiator caspase, exemplified by caspase-9 in mammals or its ortholog, Dronc, in fruit flies, is facilitated by a multimeric adaptor complex known as the apoptosome. The underlying mechanism by which caspase-9 or Dronc is activated by the apoptosome remains unknown. Here we report the electron cryomicroscopic (cryo-EM) structure of the intact apoptosome from Drosophila melanogaster at 4.0 Å resolution. Analysis of the Drosophila apoptosome, which comprises 16 molecules of the Dark protein (Apaf-1 ortholog), reveals molecular determinants that support the assembly of the 2.5-MDa complex. In the absence of dATP or ATP, Dronc zymogen potently induces formation of the Dark apoptosome, within which Dronc is efficiently activated. At 4.1 Å resolution, the cryo-EM structure of the Dark apoptosome bound to the caspase recruitment domain (CARD) of Dronc (Dronc-CARD) reveals two stacked rings of Dronc-CARD that are sandwiched between two octameric rings of the Dark protein. The specific interactions between Dronc-CARD and both the CARD and the WD40 repeats of a nearby Dark protomer are indispensable for Dronc activation. These findings reveal important mechanistic insights into the activation of initiator caspase by the apoptosome.
Project description:Apoptosis is induced by caspases, which are members of the cysteine protease family. Caspases are synthesized as inactive zymogens and initiator caspases first gain activity by associating with an oligomeric complex of their adaptor proteins, such as the apoptosome. Activated initiator caspases subsequently cleave and activate effector caspases. Although such a proteolytic cascade would predict that a small number of active caspases could irreversibly amplify caspase activity and trigger apoptosis, many cells can maintain moderate levels of caspase activity to perform non-apoptotic roles in cellular differentiation, shape change and migration. Here we show that the Drosophila melanogaster apoptosome engages in a feedback inhibitory loop, which moderates its activation level in vivo. Specifically, the adaptor protein Apaf-1 lowers the level of its associated initiator caspase Dronc, without triggering apoptosis. Conversely, Dronc lowers Apaf-1 protein levels. This mutual suppression depends on the catalytic site of Dronc and a caspase cleavage site within Apaf-1. Moreover, the Drosophila inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 (Diap1) is required for this process. We speculate that this feedback inhibition allows cells to regulate the degree of caspase activation for apoptotic and non-apoptotic purposes.
Project description:Ubiquitylation targets proteins for proteasome-mediated degradation and plays important roles in many biological processes including apoptosis. However, non-proteolytic functions of ubiquitylation are also known. In Drosophila, the inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1 (DIAP1) is known to ubiquitylate the initiator caspase DRONC in vitro. Because DRONC protein accumulates in diap1 mutant cells that are kept alive by caspase inhibition ("undead" cells), it is thought that DIAP1-mediated ubiquitylation causes proteasomal degradation of DRONC, protecting cells from apoptosis. However, contrary to this model, we show here that DIAP1-mediated ubiquitylation does not trigger proteasomal degradation of full-length DRONC, but serves a non-proteolytic function. Our data suggest that DIAP1-mediated ubiquitylation blocks processing and activation of DRONC. Interestingly, while full-length DRONC is not subject to DIAP1-induced degradation, once it is processed and activated it has reduced protein stability. Finally, we show that DRONC protein accumulates in "undead" cells due to increased transcription of dronc in these cells. These data refine current models of caspase regulation by IAPs.
Project description:Although much has been learned in recent years about the apoptotic machinery, the mechanisms underlying survival and death choices during development of metazoans remain less clearly understood. During early oogenesis in Drosophila, a small excess in the number of specialized somatic cells, called polar cells (PCs), produced at follicle extremities is reduced to exactly two cells through apoptosis by mid-oogenesis. We have found that PCs destined to die first lose their apical contacts and then round up and shrink progressively until they disappear. Caspases are activated only once the cells have begun to shrink, suggesting that they are implicated in this part of the process, but not in the initial loss of cell polarity. Loss-of-function analyses based on mutant, clonal and RNAi approaches show that among the RHG family of pro-apoptotic factors, Hid is specifically necessary for PC apoptosis, as well as the initiator caspase Dronc and its adaptor Dark/Apaf-1, and likely several effector caspases, in particular Drice. In addition, we show that Hid protein and transcripts accumulate specifically in PCs destined to die, while the anti-apoptotic factor Diap1 is downregulated in these cells in a hid-dependent manner. Therefore, our results implicate the Hid-Diap1 module as an important regulatory point in a developmental case of apoptosis.
Project description:Although essential in mammals, in flies the importance of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization for apoptosis remains highly controversial. Herein, we demonstrate that Drosophila Omi (dOmi), a fly homologue of the serine protease Omi/HtrA2, is a developmentally regulated mitochondrial intermembrane space protein that undergoes processive cleavage, in situ, to generate two distinct inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) binding motifs. Depending upon the proapoptotic stimulus, mature dOmi is then differentially released into the cytosol, where it binds selectively to the baculovirus IAP repeat 2 (BIR2) domain in Drosophila IAP1 (DIAP1) and displaces the initiator caspase DRONC. This interaction alone, however, is insufficient to promote apoptosis, as dOmi fails to displace the effector caspase DrICE from the BIR1 domain in DIAP1. Rather, dOmi alleviates DIAP1 inhibition of all caspases by proteolytically degrading DIAP1 and induces apoptosis both in cultured cells and in the developing fly eye. In summary, we demonstrate for the first time in flies that mitochondrial permeabilization not only occurs during apoptosis but also results in the release of a bona fide proapoptotic protein.
Project description:In holometabolous insects, developmentally controlled programmed cell death (PCD) is a conserved process that destroys a subset of larval tissues for the eventual creation of new adult structures. This process of histolysis is relatively well studied in salivary gland and midgut tissues, while knowledge concerning larval muscle destruction is limited. Here, we have examined the histolysis of a group of Drosophila larval abdominal muscles called the dorsal external oblique muscles (DEOMs). Previous studies have defined apoptosis as the primary mediator of DEOM breakdown, whose timing is controlled by ecdysone signaling. However, very little is known about other factors that contribute to DEOM destruction. In this paper, we examine the role of thin (tn), which encodes for the Drosophila homolog of mammalian TRIM32, in the regulation of DEOM histolysis. We find that loss of Tn blocks DEOM degradation independent of ecdysone signaling. Instead, tn genetically functions in a pathway with the death-associated inhibitor of apoptosis (DIAP1), Dronc, and death-associated APAF1-related killer (Dark) to regulate apoptosis. Importantly, blocking Tn results in the absence of active Caspase-3 immunostaining, upregulation of DIAP1 protein levels, and inhibition of Dronc activation. DIAP1 and Dronc mRNA levels are not altered in tn mutants, showing that Tn acts post-transcriptionally on DIAP1 to regulate apoptosis. Herein, we also find that the RING domain of Tn is required for DEOM histolysis as loss of this domain results in higher DIAP1 levels. Together, our results suggest that the direct control of DIAP1 levels, likely through the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of Tn, provides a mechanism to regulate caspase activity and to facilitate muscle cell death.
Project description:The Drosophila Apaf-1 related killer forms an apoptosome in the intrinsic cell death pathway. In this study we show that Dark forms a single ring when initiator procaspases are bound. This Dark-Dronc complex cleaves DrICE efficiently; hence, a single ring represents the Drosophila apoptosome. We then determined the 3D structure of a double ring at ?6.9 Å resolution and created a model of the apoptosome. Subunit interactions in the Dark complex are similar to those in Apaf-1 and CED-4 apoptosomes, but there are significant differences. In particular, Dark has "lost" a loop in the nucleotide-binding pocket, which opens a path for possible dATP exchange in the apoptosome. In addition, caspase recruitment domains (CARDs) form a crown on the central hub of the Dark apoptosome. This CARD geometry suggests that conformational changes will be required to form active Dark-Dronc complexes. When taken together, these data provide insights into apoptosome structure, function, and evolution.
Project description:Spermatozoa are generated and mature within a germline syncytium. Differentiation of haploid syncytial spermatids into single motile sperm requires the encapsulation of each spermatid by an independent plasma membrane and the elimination of most sperm cytoplasm, a process known as individualization. Apoptosis is mediated by caspase family proteases. Many apoptotic cell deaths in Drosophila utilize the REAPER/HID/GRIM family proapoptotic proteins. These proteins promote cell death, at least in part, by disrupting interactions between the caspase inhibitor DIAP1 and the apical caspase DRONC, which is continually activated in many viable cells through interactions with ARK, the Drosophila homolog of the mammalian death-activating adaptor APAF-1. This leads to unrestrained activity of DRONC and other DIAP1-inhibitable caspases activated by DRONC. Here we demonstrate that ARK- and HID-dependent activation of DRONC occurs at sites of spermatid individualization and that all three proteins are required for this process. dFADD, the Drosophila homolog of mammalian FADD, an adaptor that mediates recruitment of apical caspases to ligand-bound death receptors, and its target caspase DREDD are also required. A third apoptotic caspase, DRICE, is activated throughout the length of individualizing spermatids in a process that requires the product of the driceless locus, which also participates in individualization. Our results demonstrate that multiple caspases and caspase regulators, likely acting at distinct points in time and space, are required for spermatid individualization, a nonapoptotic process.
Project description:Apoptosis is an evolutionary conserved cell death mechanism, which requires activation of initiator and effector caspases. The Drosophila initiator caspase Dronc, the ortholog of mammalian Caspase-2 and Caspase-9, has an N-terminal CARD domain that recruits Dronc into the apoptosome for activation. In addition to its role in apoptosis, Dronc also has non-apoptotic functions such as compensatory proliferation. One mechanism to control the activation of Dronc is ubiquitylation. However, the mechanistic details of ubiquitylation of Dronc are less clear. For example, monomeric inactive Dronc is subject to non-degradative ubiquitylation in living cells, while ubiquitylation of active apoptosome-bound Dronc triggers its proteolytic degradation in apoptotic cells. Here, we examined the role of non-degradative ubiquitylation of Dronc in living cells in vivo, i.e. in the context of a multi-cellular organism. Our in vivo data suggest that in living cells Dronc is mono-ubiquitylated on Lys78 (K78) in its CARD domain. This ubiquitylation prevents activation of Dronc in the apoptosome and protects cells from apoptosis. Furthermore, K78 ubiquitylation plays an inhibitory role for non-apoptotic functions of Dronc. We provide evidence that not all of the non-apoptotic functions of Dronc require its catalytic activity. In conclusion, we demonstrate a mechanism whereby Dronc's apoptotic and non-apoptotic activities can be kept silenced in a non-degradative manner through a single ubiquitylation event in living cells.