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

Endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis: multiple pathways and activation of p53-up-regulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and NOXA by p53.

Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis has been implicated in the development of multiple diseases. However, the in vivo signaling pathways are still not fully understood. In this report, through the use of genetically deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and their matched wild-type controls, we have demonstrated that the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway mediated by Apaf-1 is an integral part of ER stress-induced apoptosis and that ER stress activates different caspases through Apaf-1-dependent and -independent mechanisms. In search of the molecular link between ER stress and the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway, we have discovered that in MEFs, ER stress selectively activates BH3-only proteins PUMA and NOXA at the transcript level through the tumor suppressor gene p53. In p53(-/-) MEFs, ER stress-induced apoptosis is partially suppressed. The p53-independent apoptotic pathway may be mediated by C/ EBP homologous protein (CHOP) and caspase-12, as their activation is intact in p53(-/-) MEFs. In multiple MEF lines, p53 is primarily nuclear and its level is elevated upon ER stress. To establish the role of NOXA and PUMA in ER stress-induced apoptosis, we have shown that, in MEFs deficient in NOXA or PUMA, ER stress-induced apoptosis is reduced. Reversibly, overexpression of NOXA or PUMA induces apoptosis as evidenced by the activation of BAK and caspase-7. Our results provide new evidence that, in MEFs, in addition to PUMA, p53 and NOXA are novel components of the ER stress-induced apoptotic pathway, and both contribute to ER stress-induced apoptosis.[1]


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