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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jan 4;277(1):372-8. Epub 2001 Nov 1.

Regulation of DNAS1L3 endonuclease activity by poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation during etoposide-induced apoptosis. Role of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 cleavage in endonuclease activation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, D. C. 20007, USA.


Several endonucleases are implicated in the internucleosomal DNA fragmentation associated with apoptosis. The human Ca2+- and Mg2+-dependent endonuclease DNAS1L3 is inhibited by poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in vitro, and its activation during apoptosis shows a time course similar to that of the cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1). The role of the cleavage and consequent inactivation of PARP-1 by caspase-3 in the activation of DNAS1L3 has now been investigated further both in vitro and in vivo. In an in vitro system based on purified recombinant proteins and NAD, caspase-3 prevented the inhibition of DNAS1L3 endonuclease activity by wild-type PARP-1 but not that induced by a caspase-3-resistant PARP-1 mutant. The induction by etoposide of apoptosis in human osteosarcoma cells (which were shown not to express endogenous DNAS1L3) was accompanied by internucleosomal DNA fragmentation only after transfection of the cells with a plasmid encoding DNAS1L3. This DNA fragmentation in etoposide-treated cells was blocked by 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid, an inhibitor of intracellular Ca2+ release. Expression of the endonuclease subunit of DNA fragmentation factor (DFF40) and cleavage of its inhibitor, DFF45, were not sufficient to cause internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in osteosarcoma cells during etoposide-induced apoptosis. Coexpression of caspase-3-resistant PARP-1 mutant with DNAS1L3 in osteosarcoma cells blocked etoposide-induced internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and resulted in persistent poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of DNAS1L3; it did not, however, prevent the activation of caspase-3 and the consequent cleavage of endogenous PARP-1. These results indicate that PARP-1 cleavage during apoptosis is not simply required to prevent excessive depletion of NAD and ATP but is also necessary to release DNAS1L3 from poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation-mediated inhibition.

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