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J Neurochem. 2007 Jul;102(1):133-40. Epub 2007 May 15.

p25/cyclin-dependent kinase 5 promotes the progression of cell death in nucleus of endoplasmic reticulum-stressed neurons.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Hachiohji, Tokyo, Japan.


Dysregulation of cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) by cleavage of its activator p35 to p25 by calpain is involved in the neuronal cell death observed in neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. However, it is not yet clear how p25/Cdk5 induces cell death, although its cytosolic localization or extended half life are thought to be involved. We show here that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress causes the calpain-dependent cleavage of p35 to p25 in primary cultured cortical neurons. Generation of p25 occurred at a cell death execution step in ER-stressed neurons. p25 translocated to the nucleus in ER-stressed neurons, whereas p35/Cdk5 was perinuclear in control neurons. Cdk5 inhibitors or dominant-negative Cdk5 suppressed ER stress-induced neuronal cell death. These findings indicate that p25/Cdk5 is a proapoptotic factor that promotes ER stress-induced neuronal cell death in nuclei.

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