Essential roles of p53 and MAPK cascades in microcystin-LR-induced germline apoptosis in Caenorhabditis elegans.Environ Sci Technol. 2012 Mar 20; 46(6):3442-8.ES
Hepatotoxin microcystin-LR (MC-LR) can induce apoptosis in a variety of cells. However, the underlying pathways of MC-LR-induced apoptosis have not been well elucidated yet. To find out the roles of underlying pathways in apoptosis signaling in response to MC-LR, germ cell corpses were scored in Caenorhabditis elegans N2 wild type and strains carrying mutated alleles homologous to their mammalian counterparts. We found that exposure to MC-LR at 1.0 μg/L significantly increased germline apoptosis in N2. Germline apoptosis was absent at all doses in ced-3 and ced-4 loss-of-function strains. MC-LR-induced apoptosis was blocked in Bcl-2 gain-of-function strain ced-9(n1950), whereas it showed a slight increase in BH3-only protein EGL-1 mutated strain. The null mutation of cep-1, which is the homologue of p53 tumor suppressor gene, significantly inhibited MC-LR-induced cell death, and checkpoint proteins HUS-1 and CLK-2 exerted proapoptotic effects. Apoptosis in loss-of-function members of ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK signaling pathways reduced significantly under MC-LR exposure, and members of MAPKK subgroup JKK-1, MEK-1, and SEK-1 worked cooperatively. Our results show that the caspase protein CED-3 and Apaf-1 protein CED-4 were absolutely required for the apoptotic processes, and that the p53/CEP-1 and MAPKs cascades played essential roles in modulating MC-LR-induced germline apoptosis in C. elegans.