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      Resistance to Fas-Induced Apoptosis in Cells from Human Atherosclerotic Lesions: Elevated Bcl-X L Inhibits Apoptosis and Caspase Activation

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          The inappropriate survival of cells in the neointima contributes to atherosclerotic plaque progression, while apoptosis in the fibrous cap of lesions contributes to myocardial infarction and stroke. Prior genomic-scale transcript profiling of human carotid artery plaque cells with known sensitivity or resistance to fas-induced apoptosis identified candidate genes involved in lesion cell apoptosis. Retroviral overexpression indicated that several candidate factors were not causative, but that Bcl-X<sub>L</sub> conferred complete resistance to apoptosis induced by fas ligation. Resistant cells failed to efficiently activate caspase 8, an effect which was also observed in Bcl-X<sub>L</sub>-transfected cells. Small-molecule Bcl-2/X<sub>L</sub> inhibitors and siRNA knockdown of Bcl-X<sub>L</sub> markedly sensitized resistant cells to apoptosis, and partially restored caspase 8 activation. Caspase 3, 6 and 9 inhibitors reduced caspase 8 activation and blocked apoptosis. Complete knockdown of caspase 9 did not reduce apoptosis, while knockdown of Bid suppressed apoptosis, suggesting that mitochondrial pathways independent of caspase 9, such as Smac/Diablo or AIF, provide a necessary mitochondrial input to efficient caspase activation. Bcl-X<sub>L</sub> appears to modulate lesion cell apoptosis by suppressing mitochondrial amplification of caspase activation loops. The results may have direct implications for controlling plaque instability/progression, and identify a new class of small molecules to inhibit restenosis.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Bcl-2 and Bcl-XL regulate proinflammatory caspase-1 activation by interaction with NALP1.

          Caspases are intracellular proteases that cleave substrates involved in apoptosis or inflammation. In C. elegans, a paradigm for caspase regulation exists in which caspase CED-3 is activated by nucleotide-binding protein CED-4, which is suppressed by Bcl-2-family protein CED-9. We have identified a mammalian analog of this caspase-regulatory system in the NLR-family protein NALP1, a nucleotide-dependent activator of cytokine-processing protease caspase-1, which responds to bacterial ligand muramyl-dipeptide (MDP). Antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) bind and suppress NALP1, reducing caspase-1 activation and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) production. When exposed to MDP, Bcl-2-deficient macrophages exhibit more caspase-1 processing and IL-1beta production, whereas Bcl-2-overexpressing macrophages demonstrate less caspase-1 processing and IL-1beta production. The findings reveal an interaction of host defense and apoptosis machinery.
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            Apoptosis-based therapies for hematologic malignancies.

            Apoptosis is an intrinsic cell death program that plays critical roles in tissue homeostasis, especially in organs where high rates of daily cell production are offset by rapid cell turnover. The hematopoietic system provides numerous examples attesting to the importance of cell death mechanisms for achieving homeostatic control. Much has been learned about the mechanisms of apoptosis of lymphoid and hematopoietic cells since the seminal observation in 1980 that glucocorticoids induce DNA fragmentation and apoptosis of thymocytes and the demonstration in 1990 that depriving colony-stimulating factors from factor-dependent hematopoietic cells causes programmed cell death. From an understanding of the core components of the apoptosis machinery at the molecular and structural levels, many potential new therapies for leukemia and lymphoma are emerging. In this review, we introduce some of the drug discovery targets thus far identified within the core apoptotic machinery and describe some of the progress to date toward translating our growing knowledge about these targets into new therapies for cancer and leukemia.
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              Antimycin A mimics a cell-death-inducing Bcl-2 homology domain 3.

              The Bcl-2-related survival proteins confer cellular resistance to a wide range of agents. Bcl-xL-expressing hepatocyte cell lines are resistant to tumour necrosis factor and anti-cancer drugs, but are more sensitive than isogenic control cells to antimycin A, an inhibitor of mitochondrial electron transfer. Computational molecular docking analysis predicted that antimycin A interacts with the Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3)-binding hydrophobic groove of Bcl-xL. We demonstrate that antimycin A and a Bak BH3 peptide bind competitively to recombinant Bcl-2. Antimycin A and BH3 peptide both induce mitochondrial swelling and loss of DeltaPsim on addition to mitochondria expressing Bcl-xL. The 2-methoxy derivative of antimycin A3 is inactive as an inhibitor of cellular respiration but still retains toxicity for Bcl-xL+ cells and mitochondria. Finally, antimycin A inhibits the pore-forming activity of Bcl-x L in synthetic liposomes, demonstrating that a small non-peptide ligand can directly inhibit the function of Bcl-2-related proteins.

                Author and article information

                J Vasc Res
                Journal of Vascular Research
                S. Karger AG
                October 2007
                26 July 2007
                : 44
                : 6
                : 483-494
                aDepartment of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, George Washington University Medical Center and bDepartment of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The Catherine Birch McCormick Genomics Center, Washington, D.C., USA
                106466 J Vasc Res 2007;44:483–494
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 11, Tables: 1, References: 43, Pages: 12
                Research Paper


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