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      Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Toxins Induce Caspase-Independent Apoptosis in Renal Proximal Tubular Cells via ERK Signaling

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          Background: Pyelonephritis is a risk factor for renal tubular epithelial cell damage. Recent studies have shown that Escherichia coli and/or its toxins may stimulate apoptotic cell death in renal tubular cells, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Methods: Confluent LLC-PK<sub>1</sub> cells were exposed to E. coli toxins from overnight cultures of the uropathogenic O6K13H1 (O6) and the nonpathogenic W3110. The cell death was studied with morphological and biological assay. Results: E. coli soluble toxins from uropathogenic O6:K13:H1(O6) strain were found to induce apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner in LLC-PK1 cells. The expression of FasR and the phosphorylation of ERK1/2 were significantly upregulated by O6 soluble toxins in a time-dependent manner. Cell death was completely inhibited by two specific ERK1/2 inhibitors, but not by a broad caspase inhibitor, zVAD-fmk, implicating a caspase-independent pathway via ERK. Moreover, we found that lysophosphatidic acid could trigger a survival signal through G-proteins and PI3K. Conclusion: We demonstrate that apoptosis induced by uropathogenic E. coli toxins is dependent on ERK1/2. Caspases, although being activated, are not necessary for cell death, and they act after the ERK signaling at which point cells become committed to cell death or can be rescued.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Molecular characterization of mitochondrial apoptosis-inducing factor.

          Mitochondria play a key part in the regulation of apoptosis (cell death). Their intermembrane space contains several proteins that are liberated through the outer membrane in order to participate in the degradation phase of apoptosis. Here we report the identification and cloning of an apoptosis-inducing factor, AIF, which is sufficient to induce apoptosis of isolated nuclei. AIF is a flavoprotein of relative molecular mass 57,000 which shares homology with the bacterial oxidoreductases; it is normally confined to mitochondria but translocates to the nucleus when apoptosis is induced. Recombinant AIF causes chromatin condensation in isolated nuclei and large-scale fragmentation of DNA. It induces purified mitochondria to release the apoptogenic proteins cytochrome c and caspase-9. Microinjection of AIF into the cytoplasm of intact cells induces condensation of chromatin, dissipation of the mitochondrial transmembrane potential, and exposure of phosphatidylserine in the plasma membrane. None of these effects is prevented by the wide-ranging caspase inhibitor known as Z-VAD.fmk. Overexpression of Bcl-2, which controls the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pores, prevents the release of AIF from the mitochondrion but does not affect its apoptogenic activity. These results indicate that AIF is a mitochondrial effector of apoptotic cell death.
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            Essential role of the mitochondrial apoptosis-inducing factor in programmed cell death.

            Programmed cell death is a fundamental requirement for embryogenesis, organ metamorphosis and tissue homeostasis. In mammals, release of mitochondrial cytochrome c leads to the cytosolic assembly of the apoptosome-a caspase activation complex involving Apaf1 and caspase-9 that induces hallmarks of apoptosis. There are, however, mitochondrially regulated cell death pathways that are independent of Apaf1/caspase-9. We have previously cloned a molecule associated with programmed cell death called apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). Like cytochrome c, AIF is localized to mitochondria and released in response to death stimuli. Here we show that genetic inactivation of AIF renders embryonic stem cells resistant to cell death after serum deprivation. Moreover, AIF is essential for programmed cell death during cavitation of embryoid bodies-the very first wave of cell death indispensable for mouse morphogenesis. AIF-dependent cell death displays structural features of apoptosis, and can be genetically uncoupled from Apaf1 and caspase-9 expression. Our data provide genetic evidence for a caspase-independent pathway of programmed cell death that controls early morphogenesis.
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              Inhibition of Ced-3/ICE-related Proteases Does Not Prevent Cell Death Induced by Oncogenes, DNA Damage, or the Bcl-2 Homologue Bak

              There is increasing evidence for a central role in mammalian apoptosis of the interleukin-1β– converting enzyme (ICE) family of cysteine proteases, homologues of the product of the nematode “death” gene, ced-3. Ced-3 is thought to act as an executor rather than a regulator of programmed cell death in the nematode. However, it is not known whether mammalian ICE-related proteases (IRPs) are involved in the execution or the regulation of mammalian apoptosis. Moreover, an absolute requirement for one or more IRPs for mammalian apoptosis has yet to be established. We have used two cell-permeable inhibitors of IRPs, Z-Val-Ala-Asp.fluoromethylketone (ZVAD.fmk) and t-butoxy carbonyl-Asp.fluoromethylketone (BD.fmk), to demonstrate a critical role for IRPs in mammalian apoptosis induced by several disparate mechanisms (deregulated oncogene expression, ectopic expression of the Bcl-2 relative Bak, and DNA damage–induced cell death). In all instances, ZVAD.fmk and BD.fmk treatment inhibits characteristic biochemical and morphological events associated with apoptosis, including cleavage of nuclear lamins and poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase, chromatin condensation and nucleosome laddering, and external display of phosphatidylserine. However, neither ZVAD.fmk nor BD.fmk inhibits the onset of apoptosis, as characterized by the onset of surface blebbing; rather, both act to delay completion of the program once initiated. In complete contrast, IGF-I and Bcl-2 delay the onset of apoptosis but have no effect on the kinetics of the program once initiated. Our data indicate that IRPs constitute part of the execution machinery of mammalian apoptosis induced by deregulated oncogenes, DNA damage, or Bak but that they act after the point at which cells become committed to apoptosis or can be rescued by survival factors. Moreover, all such blocked cells have lost proliferative potential and all eventually die by a process involving cytoplasmic blebbing.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                June 2003
                16 May 2003
                : 23
                : 3
                : 140-151
                aPediatric Nephrology Unit, bDepartment of Microbiology, Pathology and Immunology, Division of Pathology, and cThe National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Division of Toxicology and Neurotoxicology, KarolinskaInstitutet, Stockholm, Sweden
                69853 Am J Nephrol 2003;23:140–151
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 9, References: 48, Pages: 12
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                Original Article: Basic Sciences


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