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J Biol Chem. 2002 Apr 19;277(16):13812-20. Epub 2002 Feb 8.

Sustained ER Ca2+ depletion suppresses protein synthesis and induces activation-enhanced cell death in mast cells.

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Arthritis and Immune Disorder Research Centre, University Health Network and the Department of Immunology, University of Toronto, Ontario M5G 2M9, Canada.


Depletion of Ca(2+) from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) induces large increases in cytoplasmic Ca(2+), mitochondrial Ca(2+) loading, protein synthesis inhibition, and cell death. To clarify the connections among these events, we have evaluated the effect of Ca(2+) mobilizing agents thapsigargin (Tg), econazole (Ec), and the growth factor Steel Factor (SLF) on bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMCs). BMMC Ca(2+) stores were found to consist of a Tg-sensitive ER compartment, the Tg-insensitive SIC store, and mitochondrial stores. Low levels of Ec interfered with Tg-stimulated mitochondrial loading while promoting progressive leakage of Ca(2+) from the ER. Low levels of Ec completely reversed Tg toxicity while higher levels blocked store-operated influx and induced cell death in a SLF-enhanced manner. Both Ec and Tg inhibited protein synthesis, however, only SLF plus Tg or very high levels of Ec were able to significantly stimulate EIF-2alpha phosphorylation. Cycloheximide only partially protected BMMCs from Tg toxicity yet strongly synergized with Ec to induce cell death. These results therefore indicate that although both Tg and Ec deplete ER Ca(2+) levels, Ec-induced cell death results from sustained protein synthesis inhibition while Tg toxicity results primarily from mitochondrial Ca(2+) overload and secondarily from ER stress associated with Ca(2+) depletion.

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