Send to

Choose Destination
Eur J Cell Biol. 1998 Dec;77(4):294-302.

Caspase-3-induced gelsolin fragmentation contributes to actin cytoskeletal collapse, nucleolysis, and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells exposed to proinflammatory cytokines.

Author information

Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Institute, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, USA.


Gelsolin, an 80 kDa actin-severing protein, has been recently identified as a substrate for the cell death-promoting cysteinyl protease caspase-3 (CPP32/apopain/YAMA). We investigated the role of gelsolin and its cleavage product in apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMC) induced by the proinflammatory cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Treatment with a combination of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha reduced viability of SMC in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Immunoblotting revealed that SMC treated with the cytokines generated a 41 kDa gelsolin fragment. The gelsolin fragmentation required activation of caspase-3, as the caspase-3 inhibitor diminished cytokine-induced cell death as well as the fragmentation. Gelsolin cleavage was accompanied by a reduction in F-actin content and by a marked disruption of cell structure. Adenovirus-mediated transfection of this N-terminal gelsolin fragment into SMC altered cell morphology, reduced cell viability, increased the number of TUNEL-positive cells, and promoted internucleosomal DNA fragmentation. Compared to wild-type cells, gelsolin-deficient SMC showed resistance to apoptosis induced by the inflammatory cytokines. These results suggest a mechanistic role for gelsolin cleavage during SMC apoptosis, a process implicated in vessel development as well as stability of atherosclerotic plaque.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center