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Cell. 2007 Jun 1;129(5):983-97.

GAPDH and autophagy preserve survival after apoptotic cytochrome c release in the absence of caspase activation.

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Department of Cell Death and Proliferation, Institut d'Investigacions Biomediques de Barcelona (IIBB-CSIC), IDIBAPS, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

Erratum in

  • Cell. 2007 Jul 27;130(2):385.


In cells undergoing apoptosis, mitochondrial outer-membrane permeabilization (MOMP) is followed by caspase activation promoted by released cytochrome c. Although caspases mediate the apoptotic phenotype, caspase inhibition is generally not sufficient for survival following MOMP; instead cells undergo a "caspase-independent cell death" (CICD). Thus, MOMP may represent a point of commitment to cell death. Here, we identify glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) as a critical regulator of CICD. GAPDH-expressing cells preserved their clonogenic potential following MOMP, provided that caspase activation was blocked. GAPDH-mediated protection of cells from CICD involved an elevation in glycolysis and a nuclear function that correlated with and was replaced by an increase in Atg12 expression. Consistent with this, protection from CICD reflected an increase in and a dependence upon autophagy, associated with a transient decrease in mitochondrial mass. Therefore, GAPDH mediates an elevation in glycolysis and enhanced autophagy that cooperate to protect cells from CICD.

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