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J Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb 15;88(3):482-92.

Activation of multiple caspases and modification of cell surface fas (CD95) in proteasome inhibitor-induced apoptosis of rat natural killer cells.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology, Institute for Cancer Research, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth 76107, USA.


The proteasome is a multi-subunit protease complex that is involved in intracellular protein degradation in eukaryotes. Previously, we have reported that selective, synthetic chymotryptic proteasome inhibitors inhibit A-NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity by approximately 50%; however, the exact role of the proteasome in NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity remains unknown. Herein, we report that proteasome inhibitors, MG115 and MG132, decreased the proteasome chymotrypsin-like activity in the rat natural killer cell line RNK16 by 85% at a concentration of 5 microM. The viability of RNK16 cells was also reduced in the presence of these inhibitors. Both inhibitors induced the apoptosis of RNK16 cells, as shown by DNA fragmentation, caspase-3 activation and the appearance of sub-G-cell populations. An increase in the fraction of apoptotic cells was observed in a dose- and time-dependent manner in our studies. In addition, the activity of caspase-1, -2, -6, -7, -8, and -9, was increased following the treatment of RNK16 cells with these inhibitors. Further investigation revealed that the expression of Fas (CD95) protein on the RNK16 cell surface was increased after the treatment by MG115 or MG132, indicating that apoptosis induced by proteasome inhibitors in RNK16 cells might be mediated through the Fas (CD95)-mediated death pathway as well. Our studies indicate, for the first time, that proteasomal chymotryptic inhibitors can reduce natural killer cell viability and therefore indirectly inhibit cell-mediated cytotoxicity via the apoptosis-inducing properties of these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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