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J Pharmacol Sci. 2011;115(2):239-43. Epub 2011 Jan 26.

Caspase-4 directly activates caspase-9 in endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis in SH-SY5Y cells.

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Department of Pharmacotherapeutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Setsunan University, Hirakata, Osaka 573-0101, Japan.


The present study investigated the function of caspase-4 in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced apoptosis in human neuronal cell line SH-SY5Y. Tunicamycin, which is known to induce ER stress, activated both caspase-9 and caspase-4, and the activation of caspase-4 preceded that of caspase-9. The caspase-4 inhibitor LEVD-CHO suppressed both the apoptosis and caspase-9 activation. In addition, human recombinant active caspase-4 cleaved wild type and D330A mutant substituted Asp-330 for alanine of human recombinant procaspase-9, but did not cleave D315A mutant substituted Asp-315 for alanine. These results suggest that caspase-4 directly activates caspase-9 by the processing of procaspase-9 at Asp-315 in ER stress-induced neuronal apoptosis.

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