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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Caspaselike proteases activated in apoptotic photoreceptors of Royal College of Surgeons rats.

PURPOSE: To study the role of caspase-like proteases, especially roles of more extensively characterized caspase-1 and caspase-2, in apoptotic photoreceptor cell degeneration in Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) rats. METHODS: Both RCS and Sprague-Dawley rats were used. Cryosections of the retinas at various postnatal times were immunostained with antibodies against caspase-1 (interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme, ICE) and caspase-2 (Nedd2/Ich-1). Double staining with TdT-dUTP terminal nick-end labeling (TUNEL), propidium iodide, and the antibodies was also performed. To evaluate the time course of protein expression, western blot analysis was carried out. The temporal profile of caspase-like protease activity was studied using a fluorogenic tetrapeptide substrate, acetyl-tyrosyl-valyl-alanyl-aspartic acid alpha (4-methyl-coumaryl-7-amide) (Ac-YVAD-MCA). Intravitreal injection of a caspase-1 inhibitor, acetyl-tyrosyl-valyl-alanyl-aspartic-aldehyde (Ac-YVAD-CHO), at postnatal days 21 (P21) and P26 was performed to see if this caused a decrease in apoptotic cell number at P28. RESULTS: TUNEL-positive photoreceptors of RCS rats stained strongly with antibodies against caspase-1 and caspase-2. Double staining studies revealed that caspase-1 and caspase-2 were coexpressed in apoptotic cells. Western blot analysis showed that active forms of caspase-1-like and caspase-2-like proteases were upregulated at P28, concurrent with the peak in TUNEL-positive cells. The enzymatic activity of caspase-1-like protease was elevated in RCS rat retinas at P28, and the inhibitor of caspase-1 transiently reduced the number of the apoptotic photoreceptors. CONCLUSIONS: Activation of caspase-like proteases plays an important role in photoreceptor apoptosis of RCS rats.[1]


  1. Caspaselike proteases activated in apoptotic photoreceptors of Royal College of Surgeons rats. Katai, N., Kikuchi, T., Shibuki, H., Kuroiwa, S., Arai, J., Kurokawa, T., Yoshimura, N. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. (1999) [Pubmed]
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