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Mol Biol Cell. 2008 May;19(5):2127-34. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E07-11-1113. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Cleavage of Mcd1 by caspase-like protease Esp1 promotes apoptosis in budding yeast.

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Department of Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071, USA.


Over the last decade, yeast has been used successfully as a model system for studying the molecular mechanism of apoptotic cell death. Here, we report that Mcd1, the yeast homology of human cohesin Rad21, plays an important role in hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis in yeast. On induction of cell death, Mcd1 is cleaved and the C-terminal fragment is translocated from nucleus into mitochondria, causing the decrease of mitochondrial membrane potential and the amplification of cell death in a cytochrome c-dependent manner. We further demonstrate that the caspase-like protease Esp1 has dual functions and that it is responsible for the cleavage of Mcd1 during the hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis. When apoptosis is induced, Esp1 is released from the anaphase inhibitor Pds1. The activated Esp1 acts as caspase-like protease for the cleavage of Mcd1, which enhances the cell death via its translocation from nucleus to mitochondria.

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