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J Biol Chem. 2000 Apr 21;275(16):11553-60.

E2F1 mediates death of B-amyloid-treated cortical neurons in a manner independent of p53 and dependent on Bax and caspase 3.

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  • 1Hoechst Marion Roussel, Neuroscience, Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807, USA.


Although B-amyloid (AB) is suggested to play an important role in Alzheimer's disease, the mechanisms that control AB-evoked toxicity are unclear. We demonstrated previously that the cell cycle-related cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6/retinoblastoma protein pathway is required for AB-mediated death. However, the downstream target(s) of this pathway are unknown. We show here that neurons lacking E2F1, a transcription factor regulated by the retinoblastoma protein, are significantly protected from death evoked by AB. Moreover, p53 deficiency does not protect neurons from death, indicating that E2F1-mediated death occurs independently of p53. Neurons protected by E2F1 deficiency have reduced Bax-dependent caspase 3-like activity. However, protection afforded by E2F1, Bax, or caspase 3 deficiency is transient. In the case of E2F1, but not with Bax or caspase 3 deficiency, delayed death is accompanied by DEVD-AFC cleavage activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate the required role of E2F1, Bax, and caspase 3 in AB evoked death, but also suggest the participation of elements independent of these apoptosis regulators.

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