Caspases are the main executioners of Fas-mediated apoptosis, irrespective of the ceramide signalling pathway. (1/310)

Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) or cytotoxic anti-Fas antibodies lead to the activation of apoptotic proteases (caspases) and to sphingomyelinase-mediated ceramide generation. Caspases and ceramide are both known to induce apoptosis on its own, but their relative contribution to Fas- and TNF-induced cell death is not well established. We report here that rapid apoptosis induced by TNF in U937 cells or anti-Fas in Jurkat cells, in the presence of cycloheximide, induced only a very low increase (<20%) in the cell ceramide content. Neither treatment with inhibitors of sphingomyelinases nor incubation of cells with fumonisin B1, which inhibits de novo ceramide synthesis, prevented TNF and Fas-mediated apoptosis. Increasing or depleting the cell ceramide content by prolonged culture in the presence of monensin or fumonisin B1, respectively, did not prevent TNF and Fas-mediated apoptosis. Treatment of cells with sphingomyelinase inhibitors did not affect to the activation of CPP32 (caspase-3) induced by TNF or anti-Fas antibodies. Chromatin condensation and fragmentation in cells treated with anti-Fas or TNF was abrogated by peptide inhibitors of caspases, which also inhibited Fas-, but not TNF-induced cell death. These results indicate that while ceramide does not seem to act as a critical mediator of TNF and Fas-induced apoptosis, it is generated as a consequence of CPP32 activation and could contribute to the spread of the intracellular death signal.  (+info)

The mycotoxin fumonisin B1 transcriptionally activates the p21 promoter through a cis-acting element containing two Sp1 binding sites. (2/310)

Fumonisin B1 (FB1) is a food-borne mycotoxin produced by Fusarium moniliforme. Structurally FB1 resembles sphingoid bases, and ingestion of FB1 causes several animal diseases. FB1 will cause hepatic carcinoma in rats and is implicated as a cofactor in esophageal or hepatic carcinoma. Previous studies concluded that FB1 repressed cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (CDK2) activity but induced CDK inhibitors p21(Waf1/Cip1), p27(Kip1), and p57(Kip2) in monkey kidney cells (CV-1). In contrast, CV-1 cells transformed by simian virus 40 are resistant to the antiproliferative or apoptotic effects of FB1. Consequently, FB1 treatment of CV-1 cells leads to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. In this study, we demonstrate that FB1 transcriptionally activates the p21 promoter. Functional analysis of the p21 promoter by reporter gene assays mapped the FB1-responsive region to -124 to -47. DNase I footprinting analysis revealed two protected motifs that span the FB1-responsive region, -124 to -101 (footprint II) and -89 to -67 (footprint III). Further studies demonstrated that DNA sequences from -124 to -101 were sufficient for FB1 stimulation. DNA sequences from -124 to -101 contain two Sp1 binding sites, and gel shift assays provided evidence that nuclear factors specifically bind to this region. Disruption of the two Sp1 binding sites abrogated the binding of nuclear proteins and prevented activation by FB1. Taken together, these results suggest that Sp1 or Sp1-related proteins mediate FB1-induced activation of the p21 promoter.  (+info)

TNF-alpha pretreatment prevents subsequent activation of cultured brain cells with TNF-alpha and hypoxia via ceramide. (3/310)

We have developed a cellular model in which cultured astrocytes and brain capillary endothelial cells preconditioned with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) fail to upregulate intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) protein (80% inhibition) and mRNA (30% inhibition) when challenged with TNF-alpha or exposed to hypoxia. Inasmuch as ceramide is known to mediate some of the effects of TNF-alpha, its levels were measured at various times after the TNF-alpha preconditioning. We present evidence for the first time that, in normal brain cells, TNF-alpha pretreatment causes a biphasic increase of ceramide levels: an early peak at 15-20 min, when ceramide levels increased 1.9-fold in astrocytes and 2.7-fold in rat brain capillary endothelial cells, and a delayed 2- to 3-fold ceramide increase that occurs 18-24 h after addition of TNF-alpha. The following findings indicate that the delayed ceramide accumulation results in cell unresponsiveness to TNF-alpha: 1) coincident timing of the ceramide peak and the tolerance period, 2) mimicking of preconditioning by addition of exogenous ceramide, and 3) attenuation of preconditioning by fumonisin B1, an inhibitor of ceramide synthesis. In contrast to observations in transformed cell lines, the delayed ceramide increase was transient and did not induce apoptosis in brain cells.  (+info)

A role for neutral sphingomyelinase-mediated ceramide production in T cell receptor-induced apoptosis and mitogen-activated protein kinase-mediated signal transduction. (4/310)

Studying apoptosis induced by T cell receptor (TCR) cross-linking in the T cell hybridoma, 3DO, we found both neutral sphingomyelinase activation and production of ceramide upon receptor engagement. Pharmacological inhibition of ceramide production by the fungal toxin, fumonisin B1, impaired TCR-induced interleukin (IL)-2 production and programmed cell death. Addition of either exogenous ceramide or bacterial sphingomyelinase reconstituted both responses. Moreover, specific inactivation of neutral sphingomyelinase by antisense RNA inhibited IL-2 production and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation after TCR triggering. These results suggest that ceramide production by activation of neutral sphingomyelinase is an essential component of the TCR signaling machinery.  (+info)

Histopathology and gene expression changes in rat liver during feeding of fumonisin B1, a carcinogenic mycotoxin produced by Fusarium moniliforme. (5/310)

Fumonisin B1 (FB1) is a carcinogenic mycotoxin produced by the fungus Fusarium moniliforme in corn. Feeding of FB1 to rats causes acute liver injury, chronic liver injury progressing to cirrhosis, and sometimes terminates in hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma. This study describes the histolopathology and changes in gene expression in the rat liver during short-term feeding of FB1. Male Fischer rats were fed either FB1 250 mg/kg or control diet, and were killed weekly for 5 weeks. FB1 caused a predominantly zone 3 'toxic' liver injury, with hepatocyte death due to necrosis and apoptosis. Hepatocyte injury and death were mirrored by hepatic stellate cell proliferation and marked fibrosis, with progressive disturbance of architecture and formation of regenerative nodules. Despite ongoing hepatocyte mitotic activity, oval cell proliferation was noted from week 2, glutathione S-transferase pi-positive hepatic foci and nodules developed and, at later time points, oval cells were noted inside some of the 'atypical' nodules. Northern blot (mRNA) analysis of liver specimens from weeks 3 to 5 showed a progressive increase in gene expression for alpha-fetoprotein, hepatocyte growth factor, transforming growth factor alpha (TGF-alpha) and especially TGF-beta1 and c-myc. Immunostaining with LC(1-30) antibody demonstrated a progressive increase in expression of mature TGF-beta1 protein by hepatocytes over the 5 week feeding period. The overexpression of TGF-beta1 may be causally related to the prominent apoptosis and fibrosis seen with FB1-induced liver injury. Increased expression of c-myc may be involved in the cancer promoting effects of FB1.  (+info)

Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated gene product inhibits DNA damage-induced apoptosis via ceramide synthase. (6/310)

DNA double-stranded breaks (dsb) activate surveillance systems that identify DNA damage and either initiate repair or signal cell death. Failure of cells to undergo appropriate death in response to DNA damage leads to misrepair, mutations, and neoplastic transformation. Pathways linking DNA dsb to reproductive or apoptotic death are virtually unknown. Here we report that metabolic incorporation of 125I-labeled 5-iodo-2'deoxyuridine, which produces DNA dsb, signaled de novo ceramide synthesis by post-translational activation of ceramide synthase (CS) and apoptosis. CS activation was obligatory, since fumonisin B1, a fungal pathogen that acts as a specific CS inhibitor, abrogated DNA damage-induced death. X-irradiation yielded similar results. Furthermore, inhibition of apoptosis using the peptide caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Val-Ala-Asp fluoromethylketone did not affect CS activation, indicating this event is not a consequence of induction of apoptosis. ATM, the gene mutated in ataxia telangiectasia, is a member of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase family that constitutes the DNA damage surveillance/repair system. Epstein-Barr virus-immortalized B cell lines from six ataxia telangiectasia patients with different mutations exhibited radiation-induced CS activation, ceramide generation, and apoptosis, whereas three lines from normal patients failed to manifest these responses. Stable transfection of wild type ATM cDNA reversed these events, whereas antisense inactivation of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated gene product in normal B cells conferred the ataxia telangiectasia phenotype. We propose that one of the functions of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated gene product is to constrain activation of CS, thereby regulating DNA damage-induced apoptosis.  (+info)

Influence of kernel age on fumonisin B1 production in maize by Fusarium moniliforme. (7/310)

Production of fumonisins by Fusarium moniliforme on naturally infected maize ears is an important food safety concern due to the toxic nature of this class of mycotoxins. Assessing the potential risk of fumonisin production in developing maize ears prior to harvest requires an understanding of the regulation of toxin biosynthesis during kernel maturation. We investigated the developmental-stage-dependent relationship between maize kernels and fumonisin B1 production by using kernels collected at the blister (R2), milk (R3), dough (R4), and dent (R5) stages following inoculation in culture at their respective field moisture contents with F. moniliforme. Highly significant differences (P +info)

Ceramide accumulation precedes caspase-dependent apoptosis in CHP-100 neuroepithelioma cells exposed to the protein phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid. (8/310)

The protein phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid (OA) dose-dependently induced apoptosis in CHP-100 neuroepithelioma cells when administered for 24 h at concentrations ranging from 10 - 100 nM. Apoptosis was largely, albeit not completely, dependent on cystein protease (caspase) activation. CPP32 processing and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage started to be observed only at 20 nM OA; moreover, the caspase inhibitor Z-Val-Ala-DL-Asp-fluoromethylketone (Z-VAD.fmk) (100 microM) had negligible effect on apoptosis induced by 10 nM OA, but rescued from death an increasing cell fraction as OA concentration was raised from 20 - 100 nM. Cell treatment for 24 h with OA induced ceramide accumulation; the phenomenon started to be evident at 20 nM OA and reached its maximum at 50 - 100 nM OA. In cells exposed to 50 nM OA, ceramide was already elevated by 5 h; at this time, however, PARP cleavage and apoptosis were not yet observed. Z-VAD.fmk (100 microM) had no effect on ceramide elevation induced by 50 nM OA within 5 h, but markedly reduced ceramide accumulation as the incubation was prolonged to 24 h. The latter phenomenon was accompanied by elevation of glucosylceramide levels, thus suggesting that a caspase-dependent reduction of glucosylceramide synthesis might contribute to late ceramide accumulation. Short-chain ceramide (30 microM) induced apoptosis in CHP-100 cells and its effect was additive with that evoked by OA (10 - 20 nM). These results suggest that ceramide generation might be an important mechanism through which sustained protein phosphatase inhibition induces caspase activation and apoptosis in CHP-100 cells.  (+info)