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J Biol Chem. 2006 Mar 10;281(10):6726-33. Epub 2006 Jan 4.

Involvement of endonuclease G in nucleosomal DNA fragmentation under sustained endogenous oxidative stress.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Graduate School of Science, Osaka University, Osaka 532-8686, Japan.


We have previously shown that inhibition of catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities by 3-amino-1,2,4-triazole (ATZ) and mercaptosuccinic acid (MS), respectively, in rat primary hepatocytes caused sustained endogenous oxidative stress and apoptotic cell death without caspase-3 activation. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of this apoptotic cell death in terms of nucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Treatment with ATZ+MS time-dependently increased the number of deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end-labeling (TUNEL)-positive nuclei from 12 h, resulting in clear DNA laddering at 24 h. The deoxyribonuclease (DNase) inhibitor, aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA), completely inhibited nucleosomal DNA fragmentation but the pan-caspase inhibitor, z-VAD-fmk was without effects; furthermore, the cleavage of inhibitor of caspase-activated DNase was not detected, indicating the involvement of DNase(s) other than caspase-activated DNase. Considering that endonuclease G (EndoG) reportedly acts in a caspase-independent manner, we cloned rat EndoG cDNA for the first time. Recombinant EndoG alone digested plasmid DNA and induced nucleosomal DNA fragmentation in isolated hepatocyte nuclei. Recombinant EndoG activity was inhibited by ATA but not by hydrogen peroxide, even at 10 mm. ATZ+MS stimulation elicited decreases in mitochondrial membrane potential and EndoG translocation from mitochondria to nuclei. By applying RNA interference, the mRNA levels of EndoG were almost completely suppressed and the amount of EndoG protein was decreased to approximately half the level of untreated cells. Under these conditions, decreases in TUNEL-positive nuclei were significantly suppressed. These results indicate that EndoG is responsible, at least in part, for nucleosomal DNA fragmentation under endogenous oxidative stress conditions induced by ATZ+MS.

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