Bcl-2 regulates amplification of caspase activation by cytochrome c.
Caspases, a family of specific proteases, have central roles in apoptosis . Caspase activation in response to diverse apoptotic stimuli involves the relocalisation of cytochrome c from mitochondria to the cytoplasm where it stimulates the proteolytic processing of caspase precursors. Cytochrome c release is controlled by members of the Bcl-2 family of apoptosis regulators  . The anti-apoptotic members Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL may also control caspase activation independently of cytochrome c relocalisation or may inhibit a positive feedback mechanism    . Here, we investigate the role of Bcl-2 family proteins in the regulation of caspase activation using a model cell-free system. We found that Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL set a threshold in the amount of cytochrome c required to activate caspases, even in soluble extracts lacking mitochondria. Addition of dATP (which stimulates the procaspase-processing factor Apaf-1  ) overcame inhibition of caspase activation by Bcl-2, but did not prevent the control of cytochrome c release from mitochondria by Bcl-2. Cytochrome c release was accelerated by active caspase-3 and this positive feedback was negatively regulated by Bcl-2. These results provide evidence for a mechanism to amplify caspase activation that is suppressed at several distinct steps by Bcl-2, even after cytochrome c is released from mitochondria. (+info)
Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL serve an anti-inflammatory function in endothelial cells through inhibition of NF-kappaB.
To maintain the integrity of the vascular barrier, endothelial cells (EC) are resistant to cell death. The molecular basis of this resistance may be explained by the function of antiapoptotic genes such as bcl family members. Overexpression of Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL protects EC from tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-mediated apoptosis. In addition, Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL inhibits activation of NF-kappaB and thus upregulation of proinflammatory genes. Bcl-2-mediated inhibition of NF-kappaB in EC occurs upstream of IkappaBalpha degradation without affecting p65-mediated transactivation. Overexpression of bcl genes in EC does not affect other transcription factors. Using deletion mutants of Bcl-2, the NF-kappaB inhibitory function of Bcl-2 was mapped to bcl homology domains BH2 and BH4, whereas all BH domains were required for the antiapoptotic function. These data suggest that Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL belong to a cytoprotective response that counteracts proapoptotic and proinflammatory insults and restores the physiological anti-inflammatory phenotype to the EC. By inhibiting NF-kappaB without sensitizing the cells (as with IkappaBalpha) to TNF-mediated apoptosis, Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL are prime candidates for genetic engineering of EC in pathological conditions where EC loss and unfettered activation are undesirable. (+info)
Expression of Bcl-2 protein is decreased in colorectal adenocarcinomas with microsatellite instability.
Bcl-2 is known to inhibit apoptosis and is thought to play a role in colorectal tumour development. Studies of the promoter region of bcl-2 have indicated the presence of a p53 responsive element which downregulates bcl-2 expression. Since p53 is commonly mutated in colorectal cancers, but rarely in those tumours showing microsatellite instability (MSI), the aim of this study was to examine the relationship of bcl-2 protein expression to MSI, as well as to other clinicopathological and molecular variables, in colorectal adenocarcinomas. Expression of bcl-2 was analysed by immunohistochemistry in 71 colorectal cancers which had been previously assigned to three classes depending upon their levels of MSI. MSI-high tumours demonstrated instability in three or more of six microsatellite markers tested, MSI-low tumours in one or two of six, and MSI-null in none of six. Bcl-2 expression in tumours was quantified independently by two pathologists and assigned to one of five categories, with respect to the number of cells which showed positive staining: 0, up to 5%; 1, 6-25%; 2, 26-50%; 3, 51-75%; and 4, > or =76%. Bcl-2 negative tumours were defined as those with a score of 0. Bcl-2 protein expression was tested for association with clinicopathological stage, differentiation level, tumour site, age, sex, survival, evidence of p53 inactivation and MSI level. A significant association was found between bcl-2 expression and patient survival (P = 0.012, Gehan Wilcoxon test). Further, a significant reciprocal relationship was found between bcl-2 expression and the presence of MSI (P = 0.012, Wilcoxon rank sum test). We conclude that bcl-2 expressing colorectal cancers are more likely to be MSI-null, and to be associated with improved patient survival. (+info)
Constitutive activation of Stat3 signaling confers resistance to apoptosis in human U266 myeloma cells.
Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is the major survival factor for myeloma tumor cells and induces signaling through the STAT proteins. We report that one STAT family member, Stat3, is constitutively activated in bone marrow mononuclear cells from patients with multiple myeloma and in the IL-6-dependent human myeloma cell line U266. Moreover, U266 cells are inherently resistant to Fas-mediated apoptosis and express high levels of the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-xL. Blocking IL-6 receptor signaling from Janus kinases to the Stat3 protein inhibits Bcl-xL expression and induces apoptosis, demonstrating that Stat3 signaling is essential for the survival of myeloma tumor cells. These findings provide evidence that constitutively activated Stat3 signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma by preventing apoptosis. (+info)
Hyperoxia induces the neuronal differentiated phenotype of PC12 cells via a sustained activity of mitogen-activated protein kinase induced by Bcl-2.
We previously reported that rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells express the neuronal differentiated phenotype under hyperoxia through the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In the present study, we found that in this phenotype, Bcl-2, an apoptosis inhibitor, affects mitogen-activated protein (MAP)-kinase activity, which is known as a key enzyme of the signal-transduction cascade for differentiation. When PC12 cells were cultured under hyperoxia, a rapid increase in MAP-kinase activity, including that of both p42 and p44, was observed. Although the activity level then decreased quickly, activity higher than the control level was observed for 48 h. PD98059, an inhibitor of MAP kinase, suppressed the hyperoxia-induced neurite extensions, suggesting the involvement of MAP-kinase activity in the mechanism of differentiation induced by ROS. An elevation of Bcl-2 expression was observed after culturing PC12 cells for 24 h under hyperoxia. This Bcl-2 elevation was not affected by treatment with PD98059, suggesting that it did not directly induce neurite extension under hyperoxia. However, the blockade of the Bcl-2 elevation by an antisense oligonucleotide inhibited the sustained MAP-kinase activity and neurite extensions under hyperoxia. Further, in PC12 cells highly expressing Bcl-2, the sustained MAP-kinase activity and neurite extensions under hyperoxia were enhanced. These results suggested that MAP kinase is activated through the production of ROS, and the subsequent elevation of Bcl-2 expression sustains the MAP-kinase activity, resulting in the induction of the neuronal-differentiation phenotype of PC12 cells under hyperoxia. (+info)
In vitro induction of activation-induced cell death in lymphocytes from chronic periodontal lesions by exogenous Fas ligand.
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease which gradually destroys the supporting tissues of the teeth, leading to tooth loss in adults. The lesions are characterized by a persistence of inflammatory cells in gingival and periodontal connective tissues. To understand what mechanisms are involved in the establishment of chronic lesions, we hypothesized that infiltrating lymphocytes might be resistant to apoptosis. However, both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL were weakly detected in lymphocytes from the lesions, compared with those from peripheral blood, suggesting that these cells are susceptible to apoptosis. Nevertheless, very few apoptotic cells were observed in tissue sections from the lesions. Lymphocytes from the lesions expressed mRNA encoding Fas, whereas Fas-ligand mRNA was very weakly expressed in lymphocytes from the lesions and in periodontal tissues. Since the results indicated that lymphocytes in the lesions might be susceptible to Fas-mediated apoptosis but lack the death signal, we next investigated if these lymphocytes actually undergo apoptosis by the addition of anti-Fas antibodies in vitro. Fas-positive lymphocytes from the lesions underwent apoptosis by these antibodies, but Fas-negative lymphocytes and Fas-positive peripheral lymphocytes did not undergo apoptosis by these antibodies. These results indicate that lymphocytes in the lesions are susceptible to activation-induced cell death and are induced to die by apoptosis after the addition of exogenous Fas ligand. (+info)
Double-strand break repair in yeast requires both leading and lagging strand DNA polymerases.
Mitotic double-strand break (DSB)-induced gene conversion at MAT in Saccharomyces cerevisiae was analyzed molecularly in mutant strains thermosensitive for essential replication factors. The processivity cofactors PCNA and RFC are essential even to synthesize as little as 30 nucleotides following strand invasion. Both PCNA-associated DNA polymerases delta and epsilon are important for gene conversion, though a temperature-sensitive Pol epsilon mutant is more severe than one in Pol delta. Surprisingly, mutants of lagging strand replication, DNA polymerase alpha (pol1-17), DNA primase (pri2-1), and Rad27p (rad27 delta) also greatly inhibit completion of DSB repair, even in G1-arrested cells. We propose a novel model for DSB-induced gene conversion in which a strand invasion creates a modified replication fork, involving leading and lagging strand synthesis from the donor template. Replication is terminated by capture of the second end of the DSB. (+info)
Fas and Fas ligand interaction induces apoptosis in inflammatory myopathies: CD4+ T cells cause muscle cell injury directly in polymyositis.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the involvement of the Fas/Fas ligand (Fas/FasL) system in the inflammatory myopathies. METHODS: Frozen muscle sections obtained from 7 patients with polymyositis (PM), 4 patients with dermatomyositis (DM), and 3 controls were studied by immunochemistry. Apoptosis was detected by DNA electrophoresis and in situ labeling using the TUNEL method. RESULTS: Fas was detected on muscle fibers and infiltrating mononuclear cells (MNC) in 6 PM patients and 2 DM patients. FasL was expressed mainly on CD4+ T cells and some CD8+ T cells, and on macrophages surrounding Fas-positive muscles in 4 PM patients and 1 DM patient. In 3 of the 5 patients with FasL-positive MNC, the TUNEL method showed that both invaded myonuclei and MNC underwent apoptosis. Chromosomal DNA from the muscle tissue of these patients showed ladder formation. CONCLUSION: Fas/FasL is involved in muscle cell apoptosis in at least 2 of the inflammatory myopathies, PM and DM. Although CD8+-mediated cytotoxicity is thought to be the main mechanism of muscle injury in PM, our data suggest that CD4+ T cells also directly cause muscle cell damage. (+info)