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Exp Cell Res. 1995 Aug;219(2):699-708.

Cellular events in Fas/APO-1-mediated apoptosis in JURKAT T lymphocytes.

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Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


In the present study we investigated the Fas-mediated cellular events using the human leukemic T cell line, JURKAT. Ligation of the Fas receptor with a monoclonal antibody (IgM) resulted in the rapid (within 3 h) induction of apoptosis and was characterized by a sequence of distinct morphological and biochemical events. Thus, plasma membrane blebbing, condensation of the chromatin, and formation of high-molecular-weight (HMW) DNA fragments were the earliest events observed (by 45 min). They were followed by cleavage of DNA into oligonucleosomal-length fragments (laddering pattern) and the formation of apoptotic bodies, and finally, rounding of the apoptotic cells and complete cleavage of DNA into oligonucleosomal-length fragments occurred. The mitochondria remained structurally intact up to the stage of oligonucleosomal-length DNA cleavage, and the ability of the cells to exclude trypan blue was not compromised throughout the time course of the experiments. In contrast to many other model systems, apoptosis in JURKAT cells after anti-Fas treatment did not require the presence of extracellular Ca2+ or Mg2+ and was only partially inhibited by Zn2+. In addition, Fas-mediated apoptosis was unaffected by the presence of free radical scavengers or inhibitors of protein phosphatases, protein kinases, and nitric oxide synthesis. However, the serine protease inhibitors, N-tosyl-L-phenylalanine chloromethyl ketone (TPCK) and 3,4-dichloroisocoumarin (DCI) prevented anti-Fas-induced apoptosis in JURKAT cells. Low concentrations of these inhibitors blocked oligonucleosomal-length, but not HMW, DNA fragmentation. The latter required a higher concentration of TPCK or DCI to block. In addition, low concentrations of DCI also prevented Fas-mediated plasma membrane blebbing. In summary, our results suggest that proteolysis plays a central role in Fas-mediated apoptosis and that distinct proteolytic enzymes are involved in HMW DNA fragmentation, and oligonucleosomal-length DNA fragmentation, as well as in plasma membrane blebbing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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