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Oncogene. 2001 Mar 1;20(9):1063-75.

Cell type specific involvement of death receptor and mitochondrial pathways in drug-induced apoptosis.

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University Children's Hospital, Prittwitzstr. 43, D-89075 Ulm, Germany.


Apoptosis in response to cellular stress such as treatment with cytotoxic drugs is mediated by effector caspases (caspase-3) which can be activated by different initiator pathways. Here, we report on a cell type specific triggering of death receptor and/or mitochondrial pathways upon drug treatment. In type I cells (BJAB), both the receptor and the mitochondrial pathway were activated upon drug treatment, since blockade of either the receptor pathway by overexpression of dominant negative FADD (FADD-DN) or of the mitochondrial pathway by overexpression of Bcl-X(L) only partially inhibited apoptosis. Drug treatment induced formation of a FADD- and caspase-8-containing CD95 death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) in type I cells resulting in activation of caspase-8 as the most apical caspase. In contrast, in type II cells (Jurkat), apoptosis was predominantly controlled by mitochondria, since overexpression of Bcl-2 completely blocked drug-induced apoptosis, while overexpression of FADD-DN had no protective effect. In these cells, caspases including caspase-8 were activated by mitochondria-driven signaling events and no DISC was detected despite expression levels of CD95, FADD and caspase-8 proteins comparable to type I cells. Likewise, drug-induced CD95 aggregation was predominantly found in type I cells. Bid was cleaved prior to mitochondrial alterations in type I cells providing a molecular link between caspase-8 activation and mitochondrial perturbations, whereas in type II cells, Bid was cleaved downstream of mitochondria. Our findings of a cell type specific response to cytotoxic drugs have implications for the identification of molecular parameters for chemosensitivity or resistance in different tumor cells.

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