Transcription factor AP-2α is preferentially cleaved by caspase 6 and degraded by proteasome during tumor necrosis factor alpha-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells

O. Nyormoi, Z. Wang, D. Doan, M. Ruiz, D. McConkey, M. Bar-Eli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several reports have linked activating protein 2α (AP-2α) to apoptosis, leading us to hypothesize that AP-2α is a substrate for caspases. We tested this hypothesis by examining the effects of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) on the expression of AP-2 in breast cancer cells. Here, we provide evidence that TNF-α downregulates AP-2α and AP-2γ expression posttranscriptionally during TNF-α-induced apoptosis. Both a general caspase antagonist (zVADfmk) and a caspase 6-preferred antagonist (zVEIDfmk) inhibited TNF-α-induced apoptosis and AP-2α downregulation. In vivo tests showed that AP-2α was cleaved by caspases ahead of the DNA fragmentation phase of apoptosis. Recombinant caspase 6 cleaved AP-2α preferentially, although caspases 1 and 3 also cleaved it, albeit at 50-fold or higher concentrations. Activated caspase 6 was detected in TNF-α-treated cells, thus confirming its involvement in AP-2α cleavage. All three caspases cleaved AP-2α at asp19 of the sequence asp-arg-his-asp (DRHD19). Mutating D19 to A19 abrogated AP-2α cleavage by all three caspases. TNF-α-induced cleavage of AP-2α in vivo led to AP-2α degradation and loss of DNA-binding activity, both of which were prevented by pretreatment with zVEIDfmk. AP-2α degradation but not cleavage was inhibited in vivo by PS-431 (a proteasome antagonist), suggesting that AP-2α is degraded subsequent to cleavage by caspase 6 or caspase 6-like enzymes. Cells transfected with green fluorescent protein-tagged mutant AP-2α are resistant to TNF-α-induced apoptosis, further demonstrating the link between caspase-mediated cleavage of AP-2α and apoptosis. This is the first report to demonstrate that degradation of AP-2α is a critical event in TNF-α-induced apoptosis. Since the DRHD sequence in vertebrate AP-2 is widely conserved, its cleavage by caspases may represent an important mechanism for regulating cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4856-4867
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Volume21
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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