The apoptotic cascade is an orchestrated event, whose final stages are mediated by effector caspases. Regulatory binding proteins have been identified for caspases such as cas-pase-3, -7, -8, and -9. Many of these proteins belong to the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family. By contrast, caspase-6 is not believed to be influenced by IAPs, and little is known about its regulation. We therefore performed a yeast-two-hybrid screen using a constitutively inactive form of caspase-6 for bait in order to identify novel regulators of caspase-6 activity. Sox11 was identified as a potential caspase-6 interacting protein. Sox11 was capable of dramatically reducing caspase-6 activity, as well as preventing caspase-6 self-cleavage. Several regions, including amino acids 117-214 and 362-395 within sox11 as well as a nuclear localization signal (NLS) all contributed to the reduction in caspase-6 activity. Furthermore, sox11 was also capable of decreasing other effector caspase activity but not initiator caspases -8 and -9. The ability of sox11 to reduce effector caspase activity was also reflected in its capacity to reduce cell death following toxic insult. Interestingly, other sox proteins also had the ability to reduce caspase-6 activity but to a lesser extent than sox11.
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