Apoptotic stress induces Bax-dependent, caspase-independent redistribution of LINC complex nesprins
ABSTRACT: 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: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:Multidomain pro-apoptotic BAX and BAK, once activated, permeabilize mitochondria to trigger apoptosis, whereas anti-apoptotic BCL-2 members preserve mitochondrial integrity. The BH3-only molecules (BH3s) promote apoptosis by either activating BAX-BAK or inactivating anti-apoptotic members. Here, we present biochemical and genetic evidence that NOXA is a bona fide activator BH3. Using combinatorial gain-of-function and loss-of-function approaches in Bid(-/-)Bim(-/-)Puma(-/-)Noxa(-/-) and Bax(-/-)Bak(-/-) cells, we have constructed an interconnected hierarchical model that accommodates and explains how the intricate interplays between the BCL-2 members dictate cellular survival versus death. BID, BIM, PUMA and NOXA directly induce stepwise, bimodal activation of BAX-BAK. BCL-2, BCL-XL and MCL-1 inhibit both modes of BAX-BAK activation by sequestering activator BH3s and 'BH3-exposed' monomers of BAX-BAK, respectively. Furthermore, autoactivation of BAX and BAK can occur independently of activator BH3s through downregulation of BCL-2, BCL-XL and MCL-1. Our studies lay a foundation for targeting the BCL-2 family for treating diseases with dysregulated apoptosis.
Project description:It has been widely accepted that mitochondria-dependent apoptosis initiates when select BH3-only proteins (BID, BIM, etc.) directly engage and allosterically activate effector proteins BAX/BAK. Here, through reconstitution of cells lacking all eight pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins, we demonstrate that all BH3-only proteins primarily target the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins BCL-xL/MCL-1, whose simultaneous suppression enables membrane-mediated spontaneous activation of BAX/BAK. BH3-only proteins' apoptotic activities correlate with affinities for BCL-xL/MCL-1 instead of abilities to directly activate BAX/BAK. Further, BID and BIM do not distinguish BAX from BAK or accelerate BAX/BAK activation following inactivation of BCL-xL/MCL-1. Remarkably, death ligand-induced apoptosis in cells lacking BH3-only proteins and MCL-1 is fully restored by BID mutants capable of neutralizing BCL-xL, but not direct activation of BAX/BAK. Taken together, our findings provide a "Membrane-mediated Permissive" model, in which the BH3-only proteins only indirectly activate BAX/BAK by neutralizing the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins, and thus allowing BAX/BAK to undergo unimpeded, spontaneous activation in the mitochondrial outer membrane milieu, leading to apoptosis initiation.
Project description:BH3-only protein Bid is a key player in death receptor-induced apoptosis, because it provides the link with the mitochondrial route for caspase activation. In this pathway, Bid is activated upon cleavage by caspase-8. Its BH3 domain-containing carboxy-terminal fragment subsequently provokes mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization by Bak/Bax activation. Bid has also been implicated in the apoptotic response to ionizing radiation (IR) and the topoisomerase inhibitor etoposide, anti-cancer regimens that cause double-strand (ds)DNA breaks. We confirm the existence of this pathway and show that it is p53-independent. However, the degree of Bid participation in the apoptotic response to dsDNA breaks depends on the nature of cell transformation. We used Bid-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) lines that were reconstituted with Bid to control the cellular background and demonstrated that the Bid-dependent apoptotic pathway induced by IR and etoposide operates in MEFs that are transformed by SV40, but is not evident in E1A/Ras-transformed MEFs. The Bid-dependent apoptotic response in p53-deficient SV40-transformed MEFs contributed to clonogenic execution of the cells, implying relevance for treatment outcome. In these cells, Bid acted in a conventional manner in that it required its BH3 domain to mediate apoptosis in response to IR and etoposide, and triggered apoptotic execution by indirect activation of Bak/Bax, mitochondrial permeabilization and caspase-9 activation. However, the mechanism of Bid activation was unconventional, because elimination of all known or suspected cleavage sites for caspases or other proteolytic enzymes and even complete elimination of its unstructured cleavage loop left Bid's pro-apoptotic role in the response to IR and etoposide unaffected.
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:Normal cellular lifespan is contingent upon preserving outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) integrity, as permeabilization promotes apoptosis. BCL-2 family proteins control mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP) by regulating the activation of the pro-apoptotic BCL-2 effector molecules, BAX and BAK. Sustainable cellular stress induces proteins (e.g., BID, BIM, and cytosolic p53) capable of directly activating BAX and/or BAK, but these direct activators are sequestered by the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins (e.g., BCL-2, BCL-xL, and MCL-1). In the event of accumulated or marked cellular stress, a coordinated effort between previously sequestered and nascent BH3-only proteins inhibits the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 repertoire to promote direct activator protein-mediated MOMP. We examined the effect of ABT-737, a BCL-2 antagonist, and PUMA, a BH3-only protein that inhibits the entire anti-apoptotic BCL-2 repertoire, with cells and mitochondria that sequestered direct activator proteins. ABT-737 and PUMA cooperated with sequestered direct activator proteins to promote MOMP and apoptosis, which in the absence of ABT-737 or PUMA did not influence OMM integrity or cellular survival. Our data show that the induction of apoptosis by inhibition of the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 repertoire requires "covert" levels of direct activators of BAX and BAK at the OMM.
Project description:Bcl-B protein is an anti-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family protein that contains all the four BH (Bcl-2 homology) domains (BH1, BH2, BH3 and BH4) and a predicted C-terminal transmembrane domain. Our previous results showed that Bcl-B binds Bax and suppresses apoptosis induced by over-expression of Bax; however, Bcl-B does not bind or suppress Bak. To explore the molecular basis for the differential binding and suppression of Bax and Bak, we studied the BH3 dimerization domains of Bax and Bak. Chimeric mutants of Bax and Bak were generated that swapped the BH3 domains of these pro-apoptotic proteins. Bcl-B associated with and blocked apoptosis induced by mutant Bak containing the BH3 domain of Bax, but not mutant Bax containing the BH3 domain of Bak. In contrast, Bcl-X(L) protein bound and suppressed apoptosis induction by Bax, Bak and both BH3-domain chimeras. A strong correlation between binding and apoptosis suppression was also obtained using a series of alanine substitutions spanning the length of the Bax BH3 domain to identify critical residues for Bcl-B binding. Conversely, using structure-based modelling to design mutations in the BH3-binding pocket of Bcl-B, we produced two Bcl-B mutants (Leu86-->Ala and Arg96-->Gln) that failed to bind Bax and that also were unable to suppress apoptosis induced by Bax over-expression. In contrast, other Bcl-B mutants that still bound Bax retained protective activity against Bax-induced cell death, thus serving as a control. We conclude that, in contrast with some other anti-apoptotic Bcl-2-family proteins, a strong correlation exists for Bcl-B between binding to pro-apoptotic multidomain Bcl-2 family proteins and functional apoptosis suppression.
Project description:During apoptotic cell death, Bax and Bak change conformation and homo-oligomerize to permeabilize mitochondria. We recently reported that Bak homodimerizes via an interaction between the BH3 domain and hydrophobic surface groove, that this BH3:groove interaction is symmetric, and that symmetric dimers can be linked via the ?6-helices to form the high order oligomers thought responsible for pore formation. We now show that Bax also dimerizes via a BH3:groove interaction after apoptotic signaling in cells and in mitochondrial fractions. BH3:groove dimers of Bax were symmetric as dimers but not higher order oligomers could be linked by cysteine residues placed in both the BH3 and groove. The BH3:groove interaction was evident in the majority of mitochondrial Bax after apoptotic signaling, and correlated strongly with cytochrome c release, supporting its central role in Bax function. A second interface between the Bax ?6-helices was implicated by cysteine linkage studies, and could link dimers to higher order oligomers. We also found that a population of Bax:Bak heterodimers generated during apoptosis formed via a BH3:groove interaction, further demonstrating that Bax and Bak oligomerize via similar mechanisms. These findings highlight the importance of BH3:groove interactions in apoptosis regulation by the Bcl-2 protein family.
Project description:How BH3-only proteins activate Bax/Bak, the two gateway proteins of the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway, remains incompletely understood. Although all pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins are known to bind/neutralize the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, the three most potent ones, Bid (tBid), Bim, and Puma, possess an additional activity of directly activating Bax/Bak in vitro. This latter activity has been proposed to be responsible for triggering Bax/Bak activation following apoptotic stimulation. To test this hypothesis, we generated Bid(-/)(-)Bim(-/)(-)Puma(-/)(-) (TKO), TKO/Bax(-/)(-)/Bak(-/)(-) (PentaKO), and PentaKO/Mcl-1(-/-) (HexaKO) HCT116 cells through gene editing. Surprisingly, although the TKO cells were resistant to several apoptotic stimuli, robust apoptosis was induced upon the simultaneous inactivation of Bcl-xL and Mcl-1, two anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins known to suppress Bax/Bak activation and activity. Importantly, such apoptotic activity was completely abolished in the PentaKO cells. In addition, ABT-737, a BH3 mimetic that inhibits Bcl-xL/Bcl-w/Bcl-2, induced Bax activation in HexaKO cells reconstituted with endogenous level of GFP-Bax. Further, by generating TKO/p53(-/-) (QKO) cells, we demonstrated that p53, a tumor suppressor postulated to directly activate Bax, is not required for Bid/Bim/Puma-independent Bax/Bak activation. Together, these results strongly suggest that the direct activation activities of Bid (tBid), Bim, Puma, and p53 are not essential for activating Bax/Bak once the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins are neutralized.
Project description:BAK and BAX are the essential effectors of apoptosis because without them a cell is resistant to most apoptotic stimuli. BAK and BAX undergo conformation changes to homooligomerize then permeabilize the mitochondrial outer membrane during apoptosis. How BCL-2 homology 3 (BH3)-only proteins bind to activate BAK and BAX is unclear. We report that BH3-only proteins bind inactive full-length BAK at mitochondria and then dissociate following exposure of the BAK BH3 and BH4 domains before BAK homodimerization. Using a functional obstructive labeling approach, we show that activation of BAK involves important interactions of BH3-only proteins with both the canonical hydrophobic binding groove (?2-5) and ?6 at the rear of BAK, with interaction at ?6 promoting an open groove to receive a BH3-only protein. Once activated, how BAK homodimers multimerize to form the putative apoptotic pore is unknown. Obstructive labeling of BAK beyond the BH3 domain and hydrophobic groove did not inhibit multimerization and mitochondrial damage, indicating that critical protein-protein interfaces in BAK self-association are limited to the ?2-5 homodimerization domain.