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Cell Death Differ. 2005 Nov;12(11):1390-7.

Cells die with increased cytosolic ATP during apoptosis: a bioluminescence study with intracellular luciferase.

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Department of Cell Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan.


Apoptosis is a distinct form of cell death, which requires energy. Here, we made real-time continuous measurements of the cytosolic ATP level throughout the apoptotic process in intact HeLa, PC12 and U937 cells transfected with the firefly luciferase gene. Apoptotic stimuli (staurosporine (STS), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha), etoposide) induced significant elevation of the cytosolic ATP level. The cytosolic ATP level remained at a higher level than in the control for up to 6 h during which activation of caspase-3 and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation took place. When the STS-induced ATP response was abolished by glucose deprivation-induced inhibition of glycolysis, both caspase activation and DNA laddering were completely inhibited. Annexin V-binding induced by STS or TNFalpha was largely suppressed by glycolysis inhibition. Thus, it is suggested that the cells die with increased cytosolic ATP, and elevation of cytosolic ATP level is a requisite to the apoptotic cell death process.

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