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Oncogene. 1999 Jan 7;18(1):173-80.

ASK1 mediates apoptotic cell death induced by genotoxic stress.

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Laboratory of Biomedical Research, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Japan.


ASKI mediates apoptotic cell death induced by genotoxic stress Genotoxic stress-induced apoptosis is mediated by caspase family proteases as triggered by other stimuli. In this study, we found that the DNA-damaging agent cisplatin (cDDP) activated MAP kinase kinase kinase ASK1 and subsequent downstream subgroups of MAP kinase kinase, SEK1 (or MKK4) and MKK3/MKK6, which in turn activated c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1/stress-activated protein kinase (JNK1/SAPK) and p38 MAP kinase prior to caspase family protease activation and the onset of apoptosis in human ovarian carcinoma (OVCAR-3) and human kidney (293T) cells. As reported previously, benzyloxy carbonyl-Asp-CH2OC(O)-2, 6-dichlorobenzene (Z-Asp), a preferential inhibitor of caspase family proteases, blocked the apoptosis of OVCAR-3 cells induced by the genotoxic stress cDDP. Z-Asp, however, did not inhibit ASKI activation and the subsequent kinase cascades. Overexpression of kinase-negative ASK1 (K709R), which inhibited ASK1 activation and the downstream MKK3-p38 and MKK4-JNK1 pathways, also suppressed the caspase protease activation and apoptosis induced by cDDP. These results indicate that the ASK1 pathway is involved in genotoxic stress-induced apoptosis and mediates apoptosis at a step upstream of caspase protease activation.

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