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

Ca(2+)-induced inhibition of apoptosis in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells: degradation of apoptotic protease activating factor-1 (APAF-1).

During apoptotic and excitotoxic neuron death, challenged mitochondria release the pro-apoptotic factor cytochrome c. In the cytosol, cytochrome c is capable of binding to the apoptotic protease-activating factor-1 (APAF-1). This complex activates procaspase-9 in the presence of dATP, resulting in caspase-mediated execution of apoptotic neuron death. Many forms of Ca(2+)-mediated neuron death, however, do not lead to prominent activation of the caspase cascade despite significant release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. We demonstrate that elevation of cytosolic Ca(2+) induced prominent degradation of APAF-1 in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells and in a neuronal cell-free apoptosis system. Loss of APAF-1 correlated with a reduced ability of cytochrome c to activate caspase-3-like proteases. Ca(2+) induced the activation of calpains, monitored by the cleavage of full-length alpha-spectrin into a calpain-specific 150-kDa breakdown product. However, pharmacological inhibition of calpain activity indicated that APAF-1 degradation also occurred via calpain-independent pathways. Our data suggest that Ca(2+) inhibits caspase activation during Ca(2+)-mediated neuron death by triggering the degradation of the cytochrome c- binding protein APAF-1.[1]


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