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Cell Death Differ. 2002 Sep;9(9):934-44.

Release of cytochrome c and activation of pro-caspase-9 following lysosomal photodamage involves Bid cleavage.

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Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.


Photodynamic therapy (PDT) protocols employing lysosomal sensitizers induce apoptosis via a mechanism that causes cytochrome c release prior to loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsi(m)). The current study was designed to determine how lysosomal photodamage initiates mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis in murine hepatoma 1c1c7 cells. Fluorescence microscopy demonstrated that the photosensitizer N-aspartyl chlorin e6 (NPe6) localized to the lysosomes. Irradiation of cultures preloaded with NPe6 induced the rapid destruction of lysosomes, and subsequent cleavage/activation of Bid, pro-caspases-9 and -3. Pro-caspase-8 was not activated. Release of cytochrome c occurred at about the time of Bid cleavage and preceded the loss of DeltaPsi(m). Extracts of purified lysosomes catalyzed the in vitro cleavage of cytosolic Bid, but not pro-caspase-3 activation. Pharmacological inhibition of cathepsin B, L and D activities did not suppress Bid cleavage or pro-caspases-9 and -3 activation. These studies demonstrate that photodamaged lysosomes trigger the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway by releasing proteases that activate Bid.

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