The role of Apaf-1, caspase-9, and bid proteins in etoposide- or paclitaxel-induced mitochondrial events during apoptosis.Cancer Res. 2000 Mar 15; 60(6):1645-53.CR
Ectopic overexpression of Apaf-1 (2.5-fold) in human acute myelogenous leukemia HL-60 cells (HL-60/Apaf-1 cells) induced apoptosis and sensitized HL-60/Apaf-1 cells to etoposide- and paclitaxel-induced apoptosis (C. Perkins et al., Cancer Res., 58: 4561-4566, 1998). In this report, we demonstrate that in HL-60/Apaf-1 cells, the activity of caspase-9 and -3 induced by Apaf-1 overexpression was associated with a significant increase (5-fold) in the cytosolic accumulation of cytochrome c (cyt c), loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (deltapsim), and an increase in the reactive oxygen species. These were also associated with the processing of procaspase-8 and Bid (cytosolic, proapoptotic BH3 domain containing protein). Transient transfection of Apaf-1 into the Apaf-1-containing mouse embryogenic fibroblasts (MEFs; Apaf-1+/- MEFs) or Apaf-1-/- MEFs also induced the processing of procaspase-9 and procaspase-8, Bid cleavage, and apoptosis. These events were secondary to the activity of the downstream caspases induced by Apaf-1. This conclusion is supported by the observation that in HL-60/Apaf-1 cells, ectopic expression of dominant negative caspase-9, its inhibitory short isoform caspase-9b, or XIAP or treatment with the caspase inhibitor zVAD (50 microM) inhibited Apaf-1-induced caspase-8 and Bid cleavage, mitochondrial deltapsim, release of cyt c, and apoptosis. In contrast, a transient transfection of dominant negative caspase-8 or CrmA or exposure to caspase-8 inhibitor zIETD-fmk inhibited the processing of procaspase-8 and Bid but did not inhibit the cytosolic accumulation of cyt c in either the untreated HL-60/Apaf-1 cells or the etoposide-treated HL-60/Apaf-1 and HL-60/neo cells. These results indicate that Apaf-1 overexpression lowers the apoptotic threshold by activating caspase-9 and caspase-3. This triggers the mitochondrial deltapsim and cyt c release into the cytosol through a predominant mechanism other than cleavage of caspase-8 and/or Bid. This mechanism may involve a cytosolic mitochondrial permeability transition factor, which may be processed and activated by the downstream effector caspases, thereby completing an amplifying feedback loop, which triggers the mitochondrial events during apoptosis.