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Differential role of FL-BID and t-BID during verotoxin-1-induced apoptosis in Burkitt’s lymphoma cells

Debernardi, J;Hollville, E;Lipinski, M;Wiels, J;Robert, A;

The globotriaosylceramide Gb3 is a glycosphingolipid expressed on a subpopulation of germinal center B lymphocytes which has been recognized as the B cell differentiation antigen CD77. Among tumoral cell types, Gb3/CD77 is strongly expressed in Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) cells as well as other solid tumors including breast, testicular and ovarian carcinomas. One known ligand of Gb3/CD77 is Verotoxin-1 (VT-1), a Shiga toxin produced in specific E. coli strains. Previously, we have reported that in BL cells, VT-1 induces apoptosis via a caspase-dependent and mitochondria-dependent pathway. Yet, the respective roles of various apoptogenic factors remained to be deciphered. Here, this apoptotic pathway was found to require cleavage of the BID protein by caspase-8 as well as activation of two other apoptogenic proteins, BAK and BAX. Surprisingly however, t-BID, the truncated form of BID resulting from caspase-8 cleavage, played no role in the conformational changes of BAK and BAX. Rather, their activation occurred under the control of full length BID (FL-BID). Indeed, introducing a non-cleavable form of BID (BID-D59A) into BID-deficient BL cells restored BAK and BAX activation following VT-1 treatment. Still, t-BID was involved along with FL-BID in the BAK-dependent and BAX-dependent cytosolic release of CYT C and SMAC/DIABLO from the mitochondrial intermembrane space: FL-BID was found to control the homo-oligomerization of both BAK and BAX, likely contributing to the initial release of CYT C and SMAC/DIABLO, while t-BID was needed for their hetero-oligomerization and ensuing release amplification. Together, our results reveal a functional cooperation between BAK and BAX during VT-1-induced apoptosis and, unexpectedly, that activation of caspase-8 and production of t-BID were not mandatory for initiation of the cell death process.