Publications by authors named "John D Robertson"

19 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Computationally modeling mammalian succinate dehydrogenase kinetics identifies the origins and primary determinants of ROS production.

J Biol Chem 2020 11 28;295(45):15262-15279. Epub 2020 Aug 28.

Department of Physiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA. Electronic address:

Succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) is an inner mitochondrial membrane protein complex that links the Krebs cycle to the electron transport system. It can produce significant amounts of superoxide ([Formula: see text]) and hydrogen peroxide (HO); however, the precise mechanisms are unknown. This fact hinders the development of next-generation antioxidant therapies targeting mitochondria. To help address this problem, we developed a computational model to analyze and identify the kinetic mechanism of [Formula: see text] and HO production by SDH. Our model includes the major redox centers in the complex, namely FAD, three iron-sulfur clusters, and a transiently bound semiquinone. Oxidation state transitions involve a one- or two-electron redox reaction, each being thermodynamically constrained. Model parameters were simultaneously fit to many data sets using a variety of succinate oxidation and free radical production data. In the absence of respiratory chain inhibitors, model analysis revealed the 3Fe-4S iron-sulfur cluster as the primary [Formula: see text] source. However, when the quinone reductase site is inhibited or the quinone pool is highly reduced, [Formula: see text] is generated primarily by the FAD. In addition, HO production is only significant when the enzyme is fully reduced, and fumarate is absent. Our simulations also reveal that the redox state of the quinone pool is the primary determinant of free radical production by SDH. In this study, we showed the importance of analyzing enzyme kinetics and associated side reactions in a consistent, quantitative, and biophysically detailed manner using a diverse set of experimental data to interpret and explain experimental observations from a unified perspective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.RA120.014483DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7650251PMC
November 2020

BH3-only protein BIM mediates heat shock-induced apoptosis.

PLoS One 2014 10;9(1):e84388. Epub 2014 Jan 10.

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park, Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, Smithville, Texas, United States of America.

Acute heat shock can induce apoptosis through a canonical pathway involving the upstream activation of caspase-2, followed by BID cleavage and stimulation of the intrinsic pathway. Herein, we report that the BH3-only protein BIM, rather than BID, is essential to heat shock-induced cell death. We observed that BIM-deficient cells were highly resistant to heat shock, exhibiting short and long-term survival equivalent to Bax(-/-)Bak(-/-) cells and better than either Bid(-/-) or dominant-negative caspase-9-expressing cells. Only Bim(-/-) and Bax(-/-)Bak(-/-) cells exhibited resistance to mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization and loss of mitochondrial inner membrane potential. Moreover, while dimerized caspase-2 failed to induce apoptosis in Bid(-/-) cells, it readily did so in Bim(-/-) cells, implying that caspase-2 kills exclusively through BID, not BIM. Finally, BIM reportedly associates with MCL-1 following heat shock, and Mcl-1(-/-) cells were indeed sensitized to heat shock-induced apoptosis. However, pharmacological inhibition of BCL-2 and BCL-X(L) with ABT-737 also sensitized cells to heat shock, most likely through liberation of BIM. Thus, BIM mediates heat shock-induced apoptosis through a BAX/BAK-dependent pathway that is antagonized by antiapoptotic BCL-2 family members.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0084388PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3888412PMC
October 2014

Requirement of apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 for bortezomib-induced apoptosis but not for Fas-mediated apoptosis in human leukemic cells.

Mol Pharmacol 2013 Jan 23;83(1):245-55. Epub 2012 Oct 23.

Division of Molecular Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Nobels väg 13, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

Bortezomib is a highly selective inhibitor of the 26S proteasome and has been approved for clinical use in the treatment of relapsing and refractory multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma. Clinical trials are also underway to assess the role of bortezomib in several other human malignancies, including leukemia. However, the mechanism(s) by which bortezomib acts remain to be fully understood. Here, we studied the molecular requirements of bortezomib-induced apoptosis using the human T-cell leukemic Jurkat cells stably transfected with or without shRNA against apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 (Apaf-1). The Apaf-1-deficient Jurkat T cells were resistant to bortezomib-induced apoptosis, as assessed by caspase-3 activity, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, phosphatidylserine externalization, and hypodiploid DNA content. In contrast, Apaf-1-deficient cells were sensitive to Fas-induced apoptosis. Bortezomib induced an upregulation of the pro-apoptotic protein Noxa, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and release of cytochrome c in cells expressing or not expressing Apaf-1. Transient silencing of Apaf-1 expression in RPMI 8402 T-cell leukemic cells also diminished bortezomib-induced apoptosis. Fas-associated death domain (FADD)-deficient Jurkat cells were resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis yet remained sensitive to bortezomib. Our results show that bortezomib induces apoptosis by regulating pathways that are mechanistically different from those activated upon death receptor ligation. Furthermore, in silico analyses of public transcriptomics databases indicated elevated Apaf-1 expression in several hematologic malignancies, including acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia. We also noted variable Apaf-1 expression in a panel of samples from patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Our results suggest that the expression of Apaf-1 may be predictive of the response to proteasome inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.112.080788DOI Listing
January 2013

Different signaling pathways stimulate a disintegrin and metalloprotease-17 (ADAM17) in neutrophils during apoptosis and activation.

J Biol Chem 2011 Nov 23;286(45):38980-8. Epub 2011 Sep 23.

Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA.

ADAM17 is a membrane-associated metalloprotease that cleaves proteins from the surface of neutrophils and modulates the density of various receptors and adhesion molecules. The protease activity of ADAM17 is highly inducible and occurs upon neutrophil activation as well as apoptosis. At this time, little is known about the signal transduction pathway that promotes ADAM17 activity in neutrophils upon the induction of apoptosis. We show that caspase-8 activation, Bid cleavage, and the release of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species are sequential transduction components of the Fas signaling cascade that induces ADAM17. This is different from ADAM17 stimulation upon overt neutrophil activation, which requires MAPK p38 or ERK, but not caspases and reactive oxygen species. ADAM17 activity in apoptotic neutrophils may serve to inactivate select effector molecules that promote the pro-inflammatory activity of recruited neutrophils. For instance, TNFα receptors TNF-RI and TNF-RII are substrates of ADAM17, and we show that they are shed during apoptosis, decreasing neutrophil sensitivity to TNFα. Altogether, our findings provide significant new insights into the signal transduction pathway that stimulates ADAM17 during induced neutrophil apoptosis. ADAM17 induction during apoptosis may rapidly diminish neutrophil sensitivity to the inflammatory environment, complementing other anti-inflammatory activities by these cells during inflammation resolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.277087DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234723PMC
November 2011

Activation of caspase-9, but not caspase-2 or caspase-8, is essential for heat-induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells.

J Biol Chem 2010 Dec 26;285(52):40525-33. Epub 2010 Oct 26.

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.

Exposure of cells to hyperthermia is known to induce apoptosis, although the underlying mechanisms are only partially understood. Here, we examine the molecular requirements necessary for heat-induced apoptosis using genetically modified Jurkat T-lymphocytes. Cells stably overexpressing Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L) or stably depleted of Apaf-1 were completely resistant to heat-induced apoptosis, implicating the involvement of the mitochondria-mediated pathway. Pretreatment of wild-type cells with the cell-permeable biotinylated general caspase inhibitor b-VAD-fmk (biotin-Val-Ala-Asp(OMe)-CH(2)F) both inhibited heat-induced apoptosis and affinity-labeled activated initiator caspase-2, -8, and -9. Despite this finding, however, cells engineered to be deficient in caspase-8, caspase-2, or the caspase-2 adaptor protein RAIDD (receptor-interacting protein (RIP)-associated Ich-1/CED homologous protein with death domain) remained susceptible to heat-induced apoptosis. Additionally, b-VAD-fmk failed to label any activated initiator caspase in Apaf-1-deficient cells exposed to hyperthermia. Cells lacking Apaf-1 or the pro-apoptotic BH3-only protein Bid exhibited lower levels of heat-induced Bak activation, cytochrome c release, and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, although cleavage of Bid to truncated Bid (tBid) occurred downstream of caspase-9 activation. Combined, the data suggest that caspase-9 is the critical initiator caspase activated during heat-induced apoptosis and that tBid may function to promote cytochrome c release during this process as part of a feed-forward amplification loop.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M110.167635DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3003351PMC
December 2010

Caspase-9 activation by the apoptosome is not required for fas-mediated apoptosis in type II Jurkat cells.

J Biol Chem 2009 Nov 16;284(48):33447-55. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics and the Kansas University Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.

Activation of executioner caspases during receptor-mediated apoptosis in type II cells requires the engagement of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. Although it is well established that recruitment of mitochondria in this context involves the cleavage of Bid to truncated Bid (tBid), the precise post-mitochondrial signaling responsible for executioner caspase activation is controversial. Here, we used distinct clones of type II Jurkat T-lymphocytes in which the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway had been inhibited to investigate the molecular requirements necessary for Fas-induced apoptosis. Cells overexpressing either Bcl-2 or Bcl-x(L) were protected from apoptosis induced by agonistic anti-Fas antibody. By comparison, Apaf-1-deficient Jurkat cells were sensitive to anti-Fas, exhibiting Bid cleavage, Bak activation, the release of cytochrome c and Smac, and activation of executioner caspase-3. Inhibiting downstream caspase activation with the pharmacological inhibitor Z-DEVD-fmk or by expressing the BIR1/BIR2 domains of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) decreased all anti-Fas-induced apoptotic changes. Additionally, pretreatment of Bcl-x(L)-overexpressing cells with a Smac mimetic sensitized these cells to Fas-induced apoptosis. Combined, our findings strongly suggest that Fas-mediated activation of executioner caspases and induction of apoptosis do not depend on apoptosome-mediated caspase-9 activation in prototypical type II cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.032359DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785189PMC
November 2009

KU135, a novel novobiocin-derived C-terminal inhibitor of the 90-kDa heat shock protein, exerts potent antiproliferative effects in human leukemic cells.

Mol Pharmacol 2009 Dec 9;76(6):1314-22. Epub 2009 Sep 9.

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA.

The 90-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp90) assists in the proper folding of numerous mutated or overexpressed signal transduction proteins that are involved in cancer. Consequently, there is considerable interest in developing chemotherapeutic drugs that specifically disrupt the function of Hsp90. Here, we investigated the extent to which a novel novobiocin-derived C-terminal Hsp90 inhibitor, designated KU135, induced antiproliferative effects in Jurkat T-lymphocytes. The results indicated that KU135 bound directly to Hsp90, caused the degradation of known Hsp90 client proteins, and induced more potent antiproliferative effects than the established N-terminal Hsp90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG). Closer examination of the cellular response to KU135 and 17-AAG revealed that only 17-AAG induced a strong up-regulation of Hsp70 and Hsp90. In addition, KU135 caused wild-type cells to undergo G(2)/M arrest, whereas cells treated with 17-AAG accumulated in G(1). Furthermore, KU135 but not 17-AAG was found to be a potent inducer of mitochondria-mediated apoptosis as evidenced, in part, by the fact that cell death was inhibited to a similar extent by Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L) overexpression or the depletion of apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 (Apaf-1). Together, these data suggest that KU135 inhibits cell proliferation by regulating signaling pathways that are mechanistically different from those targeted by 17-AAG and as such represents a novel opportunity for Hsp90 inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/mol.109.058545DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784729PMC
December 2009

Cleavage of Bid by executioner caspases mediates feed forward amplification of mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization during genotoxic stress-induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells.

J Biol Chem 2009 Apr 19;284(17):11247-55. Epub 2009 Feb 19.

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics and the Kansas University Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.

The extent to which the BH3-only protein Bid is important for intrinsic (mitochondria-mediated) apoptotic cell death induced by genotoxic stress remains controversial. In the present study, we examine this issue using a panel of gene-manipulated Bax-deficient Jurkat T-lymphocytes. Cells stably depleted of Bid were far less sensitive than control-transfected cells to etoposide-induced apoptosis. In particular, drug-induced Bak activation, cytochrome c release, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, and caspase activation were all decreased in cells lacking Bid. Reconstitution experiments using recombinant proteins and permeabilized Bid-deficient cells demonstrated that truncated Bid (tBid), but not full-length Bid, potently induced Bak activation and the release of cytochrome c. Further, caspase-8-deficient Jurkat cells efficiently cleaved Bid and were sensitive to drug-induced apoptosis. By comparison, Apaf-1-deficient cells, as well as cells overexpressing full-length X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) or the BIR1/BIR2 domains of XIAP, failed to cleave Bid in response to genotoxic stress. These data suggest that tBid plays an important regulatory role in the execution of DNA damage-induced cytochrome c release and apoptosis. However, the fact that cleavage of Bid to tBid is mediated by executioner caspases suggests that a self-amplifying feed forward loop involving caspases, Bid, and mitochondria may help determine irreversible commitment to apoptosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M809392200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670129PMC
April 2009

Caspase-mediated Bak activation and cytochrome c release during intrinsic apoptotic cell death in Jurkat cells.

J Biol Chem 2008 Dec 15;283(51):35532-8. Epub 2008 Oct 15.

Department of Pharmacology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas 66160, USA.

Mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization and the release of intermembrane space proteins, such as cytochrome c, are early events during intrinsic (mitochondria-mediated) apoptotic signaling. Although this process is generally accepted to require the activation of Bak or Bax, the underlying mechanism responsible for their activation during true intrinsic apoptosis is not well understood. In the current study, we investigated the molecular requirements necessary for Bak activation using distinct clones of Bax-deficient Jurkat T-lymphocytes in which the intrinsic pathway had been inhibited. Cells stably overexpressing Bcl-2/Bcl-x(L) or stably depleted of Apaf-1 were equally resistant to apoptosis induced by the DNA-damaging anticancer drug etoposide as determined by phosphatidylserine externalization and caspase activation. Strikingly, characterization of mitochondrial apoptotic events in all three drug-resistant cell lines revealed that, without exception, resistance to apoptosis was associated with an absence of Bak activation, cytochrome c release, and mitochondrial membrane depolarization. Furthermore, we found that etoposide-induced apoptosis and mitochondrial events were inhibited in cells stably overexpressing either full-length X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) or the BIR1/BIR2 domains of XIAP. Combined, our findings suggest that caspase-mediated positive amplification of initial mitochondrial changes can determine the threshold for irreversible activation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M807656200DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2602908PMC
December 2008

Percent true calcium absorption, mineral metabolism, and bone mass in children with arthritis: effect of supplementation with vitamin D3 and calcium.

Arthritis Rheum 2008 Oct;58(10):3255-63

Department of Child Health, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65212, USA.

Objective: To assess whether percent true calcium absorption (alpha) is normal and whether supplementation with placebo, vitamin D3 (2,000 IU/day), calcium (1,000 mg/day), or vitamin D3 plus calcium improves alpha, mineral metabolism, or bone mass accrual in children with arthritis.

Methods: Eighteen children received all 4 treatments, each for 6 months, in 4 different, randomly assigned orders. Changes in levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D), 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25[OH]2D), parathyroid hormone, bone turnover markers, and minerals and in bone mineral content were measured. Calcium absorption was determined with a dual stable isotope method using 48Ca administered intravenously and 46Ca administered orally, and measuring 48Ca, 46Ca, and 42Ca in a 24-hour urine specimen by high-resolution inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy. Wilcoxon's signed rank test was used both to identify significant change over the treatment period with a given regimen and to compare change with an experimental treatment versus change with placebo.

Results: Percent true calcium absorption was in the lower-normal range and did not differ by treatment (mean+/-SD 28.3+/-20.2% with placebo, 26.1+/-12.1% with calcium, 19.2+/-11.7% with vitamin D3, and 27.1+/-16.5% with vitamin D3 plus calcium). With vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 plus calcium treatment, 25(OH)D levels were increased and 1,25(OH)2D levels were maintained. Serum calcium levels were increased only with vitamin D3 and vitamin D3 plus calcium treatment. Levels of bone turnover markers and increases in bone mineral content did not differ by treatment.

Conclusion: The findings of this study indicate that percent true calcium absorption is low-normal in children with arthritis. Vitamin D3 at 2,000 IU/day increases serum 25(OH)D and calcium levels but does not improve bone mass accretion. Calcium at 1,000 mg/day also failed to improve bone mass.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.23809DOI Listing
October 2008

Requirement of Apaf-1 for mitochondrial events and the cleavage or activation of all procaspases during genotoxic stress-induced apoptosis.

Biochem J 2007 Jul;405(1):115-22

Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics and the Kansas Cancer Center, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.

Sequential activation of caspases is critical for the execution of apoptosis. Recent evidence suggests caspase 2 is a significant upstream caspase capable of initiating mitochondrial events, such as the release of cytochrome c. In particular, in vitro studies using recombinant proteins have shown that cleaved caspase 2 can induce mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization directly or by cleaving the BH3-only protein BID (BH3 interacting domain death agonist). However, whether interchain cleavage or activation of procaspase 2 occurs prior to Apaf-1-mediated procaspase 9 activation under more natural conditions remains unresolved. In the present study, we show that Apaf-1-deficient Jurkat T-lymphocytes and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were highly resistant to DNA-damage-induced apoptosis and failed to cleave or activate any apoptotic procaspase, including caspase 2. Significantly, drug-induced cytochrome c release and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential were inhibited in cells lacking Apaf-1. By comparison, procaspase proteolysis and apoptosis were only delayed slightly in Apaf-1-deficient Jurkat cells upon treatment with anti-Fas antibody. Our data support a model in which Apaf-1 is necessary for the cleavage or activation of all procaspases and the promotion of mitochondrial apoptotic events induced by genotoxic drugs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20061576DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1925245PMC
July 2007

Caspase-2 permeabilizes the outer mitochondrial membrane and disrupts the binding of cytochrome c to anionic phospholipids.

J Biol Chem 2004 Nov 8;279(48):49575-8. Epub 2004 Oct 8.

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

Caspases are cysteine proteases that play a central role in the execution of apoptosis. Recent evidence indicates that caspase-2 is activated early in response to genotoxic stress and can function as an upstream modulator of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. In particular, we have shown previously that fully processed caspase-2 can permeabilize the outer mitochondrial membrane and cause cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO release from these organelles. Using permeabilized cells, isolated mitochondria, and protein-free liposomes, we now report that this effect is direct and depends neither on the presence or cleavage of other proteins nor on a specific phospholipid composition of the liposomal membrane. Interestingly, caspase-2 was also shown to disrupt the interaction of cytochrome c with anionic phospholipids, notably cardiolipin, and thereby enhance the release of the hemoprotein caused by treatment of mitochondria with digitonin or the proapoptotic protein Bax. Combined, our data suggest that caspase-2 possesses an unparalleled ability to engage the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway by permeabilizing the outer mitochondrial membrane and/or by breaching the association of cytochrome c with the inner mitochondrial membrane.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.C400374200DOI Listing
November 2004

Processed caspase-2 can induce mitochondria-mediated apoptosis independently of its enzymatic activity.

EMBO Rep 2004 Jun 21;5(6):643-8. Epub 2004 May 21.

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

The mechanism by which caspase-2 executes apoptosis remains obscure. Recent findings indicate that caspase-2 is activated early in response to DNA-damaging antineoplastic agents and may be important for the engagement of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. We demonstrate here that fully processed caspase-2 stimulates mitochondrial release of cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO, but not apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). This event occurs independently of several Bcl-2 family proteins, including Bax, Bak and Bcl-2, and inactivation experiments reveal that the proteolytic activity of caspase-2 is not required for the effect. Further, functional studies of mitochondria indicate that processed caspase-2 stimulates state 4 respiration and decreases the respiratory control ratio as a result of, in large part, an uncoupling effect. Combined, our data suggest that caspase-2 retains a unique ability to engage directly the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, an effect that requires processing of the zymogen but not the associated catalytic activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.embor.7400153DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1299073PMC
June 2004

Differential regulation of the mitochondrial and death receptor pathways in neural stem cells.

Eur J Neurosci 2004 May;19(10):2613-21

Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Toxicology and Neurotoxicology, Karolinska Institutet, 71 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

Despite an increasing interest in neural stem cell (NSC) research, relatively little is known about the biochemical regulation of cell death pathways in these cells. We demonstrate here, using murine-derived multipotent C17.2 NSCs, that cells undergo mitochondria-mediated cell death in response to apoptotic stimuli such as oxidative stress induced by 2,3-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DMNQ). In particular, treated cells exhibited apoptotic features, including Bax translocation, cytochrome c release, activation of caspase-9 and -3, chromatin condensation and DNA fragmentation. Although C17.2 cells possess the Fas receptor and express procaspase-8, agonistic Fas mAb treatment failed to induce apoptosis. Fas treatment activated the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) pathway, which may have an antiapoptotic as well as a growth stimulating role. Combined, our findings indicate that while NSCs are sensitive to cytotoxic stimuli that involve an engagement of mitochondria, Fas treatment does not induce death and may have an alternative role.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0953-816X.2004.03391.xDOI Listing
May 2004

Mitochondrial cytochrome c release may occur by volume-dependent mechanisms not involving permeability transition.

Biochem J 2004 Feb;378(Pt 1):213-7

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

The mechanisms regulating mitochondrial outer-membrane permeabilization and the release of cytochrome c during apoptosis remain controversial. In the present study, we show in an in vitro model system that the release of cytochrome c may occur via moderate modulation of mitochondrial volume, irrespective of the mechanism leading to the mitochondrial swelling. In contrast with mitochondrial permeability transition-dependent release of cytochrome c, in the present study mitochondria remain intact and functionally active.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1042/BJ20031193DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1223940PMC
February 2004

Role of mitochondria in toxic cell death.

Toxicology 2002 Dec;181-182:491-6

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

Apoptosis is a highly regulated form of cell death distinguished by the activation of a family of cysteine-aspartate proteases (caspases) that cleave various proteins resulting in morphological and biochemical changes characteristic of this form of cell death. Abundant evidence supports a role for mitochondria in regulating apoptosis. Specifically, it seems that a number of death triggers target these organelles and stimulate, by an unknown mechanism, the release of several proteins, including cytochrome c. Once released into the cytosol, cytochrome c binds to its adaptor molecule, apoptotic protease activating factor-1, which oligomerizes and then activates pro-caspase-9. Caspase-9 can signal downstream and activate pro-caspase-3 and -7. The release of cytochrome c can be influenced by different Bcl-2 family member proteins, including Bax, Bid, Bcl-2, and Bcl-X(L). Bax and Bid potentiate cytochrome c release, whereas Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) antagonize this event. Although toxicologists have traditionally associated cell death with necrosis, emerging evidence suggests that different types of environmental contaminants exert their toxicity, at least in part, by triggering apoptosis. The mechanism responsible for eliciting the pro-apoptotic effect of a given chemical is often unknown, although in many instances mitochondria appear to be key participants. Here, we provide an overview of our current understanding of the role of apoptosis in toxicant-induced cell death, using dioxin, organotin compounds, dithiocarbamates, as well as the chemotherapeutic agent etoposide, as specific examples.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0300-483x(02)00464-xDOI Listing
December 2002

New methodology is a key to progress.

Cell Cycle 2002 Mar-Apr;1(2):119-21

Division of Toxicology; Institute of Environmental Medicine; Karolinska Institutet; Box 210;SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

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January 2003

Caspase-2 acts upstream of mitochondria to promote cytochrome c release during etoposide-induced apoptosis.

J Biol Chem 2002 Aug 13;277(33):29803-9. Epub 2002 Jun 13.

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

DNA damage induced by the cancer chemotherapeutic drug etoposide triggers the onset of a series of intracellular events characteristic of apoptosis. Among the early changes observed is the release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, although the mechanism responsible for this effect is unclear. We demonstrate here a role for caspase-2 in etoposide-induced cytochrome c release. In particular, Jurkat T-lymphocytes treated with an irreversible caspase-2 inhibitor, benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Asp-Val-Ala-Asp-fluoromethyl ketone (z-VDVAD-fmk), or stably transfected with pro-caspase-2 antisense (Casp-2/AS) are refractory to cytochrome c release stimulated by etoposide. Experiments performed using a reconstituted cell-free system indicate that etoposide-induced cytochrome c release by way of caspase-2 occurs independently of cytosolic factors, suggesting that the nuclear pool of pro-caspase-2 is critical to this process. Apart from inhibiting cytochrome c release, undermining caspase-2 activity results in an attenuation of downstream events, such as pro-caspase-9 and -3 activation, phosphatidylserine exposure on the plasma membrane, and DNA fragmentation. Taken together, our data indicate that caspase-2 provides an important link between etoposide-induced DNA damage and the engagement of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M204185200DOI Listing
August 2002

Cytochrome c release from mitochondria proceeds by a two-step process.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2002 Feb 29;99(3):1259-63. Epub 2002 Jan 29.

Division of Toxicology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.

Cytochrome c is often released from mitochondria during the early stages of apoptosis, although the precise mechanisms regulating this event remain unclear. In this study, with isolated liver mitochondria, we demonstrate that cytochrome c release requires a two-step process. Because cytochrome c is present as loosely and tightly bound pools attached to the inner membrane by its association with cardiolipin, this interaction must first be disrupted to generate a soluble pool of this protein. Specifically, solubilization of cytochrome c involves a breaching of the electrostatic and/or hydrophobic affiliations that this protein usually maintains with cardiolipin. Once cytochrome c is solubilized, permeabilization of the outer mitochondrial membrane by Bax is sufficient to allow the extrusion of this protein into the extramitochondrial environment. Neither disrupting the interaction of cytochrome c with cardiolipin, nor permeabilizing the outer membrane with Bax, alone, is sufficient to trigger this protein's release. This mechanism also extends to conditions of mitochondrial permeability transition insofar as cytochrome c release is significantly depressed when the electrostatic interaction between cytochrome c and cardiolipin remains intact. Our results indicate that the release of cytochrome c involves a distinct two-step process that is undermined when either step is compromised.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.241655498DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC122177PMC
February 2002