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

Modulation of apoptosis by mitochondrial uncouplers: apoptosis-delaying features despite intrinsic cytotoxicity.

Disruption of mitochondrial electron transport and opening of the so-called mitochondrial permeability transition pores (PTPs) are early events in apoptotic cell death and may be caused by the uncoupler of mitochondrial oxidation and phosphorylation, carbonyl cyanide p-trifluoromethoxyphenylhydrazone (FCCP). We investigated the cellular toxicity of FCCP in HL60 and CCRF-CEM cells alone or in combination with the known apoptosis inducers such as inhibitor of serine/threonine protein kinases staurosporine (Sts) and protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine. FCCP induced apoptotic cell death in both cell lines in a dose-dependent manner, and we were able to demonstrate an appearance of caspase-3-dependent PARP cleavage fragments with Western blot and the appearance of large (15-50 kb) DNA fragments using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. After 2 hr of incubation with Che or Sts more than half of the cells had died by apoptosis. We observed a statistically significant delay in Sts- and Che-induced apoptotic cell death in CCRF-CEM cells when the cells were preincubated with FCCP but not with zVAD-FMK: about 50% more cells survived after pre-treatment with FCCP, as compared to 1 hr treatment with Che alone (P<0.05), and 25% more cells were alive after 6 hr of treatment, as compared to 6 hr exposure to Sts alone (P<0.05). The protective effect of FCCP was, however, transient and lasted only 6 hr. Treatment with aurintricarboxylic acid completely prevented Che- and Sts-induced apoptotic cell death in CCRF-CEM and HL60 cells. Incubation with Che resulted in a drop in the intracellular ATP content, predominantly distinctive in HL60, and in NAD(+) content in CCRF-CEM cells. Both ATP and NAD(+) drop were prevented with ATA, but not with FCCP or zVAD. Our data suggest that treatment with uncouplers of oxidative phosphorylation can induce apoptotic cell death in haematopoietic cell lines. However, when used in combination with serine/threonine protein kinase inhibitors FCCP can even prevent apoptosis.[1]


  1. Modulation of apoptosis by mitochondrial uncouplers: apoptosis-delaying features despite intrinsic cytotoxicity. Stoetzer, O.J., Pogrebniak, A., Pelka-Fleischer, R., Hasmann, M., Hiddemann, W., Nuessler, V. Biochem. Pharmacol. (2002) [Pubmed]
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