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J Immunol. 2008 Jun 15;180(12):8272-9.

E1A oncogene enhancement of caspase-2-mediated mitochondrial injury sensitizes cells to macrophage nitric oxide-induced apoptosis.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Immunology, and International Medicine, Department of Medicine and Microbiology-Immunology and the Cancer Center, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


The adenovirus E1A oncogene induces innate immune rejection of tumors by sensitizing tumor cells to apoptosis in response to injuries, such as those inflicted by macrophage-produced TNF alpha and NO. E1A sensitizes cells to TNF by repressing its activation of NF-kappaB-dependent, antiapoptotic defenses. This suggested the hypothesis that E1A blockade of the NF-kappaB activation response might be the central mechanism of E1A induced cellular sensitivity to other proapoptotic injuries, such as macrophage-produced NO. However, creation of E1A-positive NIH-3T3 mouse cell variants with high-level, NF-kappaB-dependent resistance to TNF did not coselect for resistance to apoptosis induced by either macrophage-NO or chemical-NO, as the hypothesis would predict. E1A expression did block cellular recovery from NO-induced mitochondrial injury and converted the reversible, NO-induced cytostasis response of cells to an apoptotic response. This viral oncogene-induced phenotypic conversion of the cellular injury response of mouse and human cells was mediated by an E1A-related increase in NO-induced activation of caspase-2, an apical initiator of intrinsic apoptosis. Blocking caspase-2 activation or expression eliminated the NO-induced apoptotic response of E1A-positive cells. These results define an NF-kappaB-independent pathway through which the E1A gene of human adenovirus sensitizes mouse and human cells to apoptosis by enhancement of caspase-2-mediated mitochondrial injury.

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