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

Caspase activation pathways induced by staurosporine and low potassium: role of caspase-2.

Apoptotic death is a physiological process with regulatory mechanisms that are under the control of different molecules such as caspases. These are classified as initiators, such as caspases-8 and -9, and effectors, such as caspases-3 and -7. The participation of caspase-2 in the effector phase of apoptosis has been commonly observed in many cell types; however, it is able to act as an initiator caspase, depending on the apoptotic stimulus. Cerebellar granule cells (CGCs) undergo apoptosis when they are transferred from high potassium (K25) to low potassium (K5); this process seems to be mediated by caspase-3 activation. Staurosporine (STS), a full strength inhibitor of kinase proteins, also induces apoptosis in these cells. To characterize the caspase cascade induced by two stimuli in the same cell type we studied the activation of different caspases in CGCs treated with STS or K5. We found that both K5 and STS induce the activation of caspase-3. This result was confirmed by the proteolytic cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), an endogenous caspase-3 substrate. Caspase-2 was activated preferentially by STS, which showed a temporal course suggesting that this caspase was induced before caspase-3. The initiator caspase-9 was also activated by both K5 and STS, as well as cytochrome-c release. The results obtained in this study suggest that STS and K5 induced different activation caspase pathways for apoptotic cell death of CGCs.[1]


  1. Caspase activation pathways induced by staurosporine and low potassium: role of caspase-2. Caballero-Benítez, A., Morán, J. J. Neurosci. Res. (2003) [Pubmed]
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