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J Immunol. 1998 Nov 1;161(9):4536-41.

Expression and function of Fas on cells damaged by gamma-irradiation in B6 and B6/lpr mice.

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Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7280, USA.


Fas (CD95) is a cell surface protein that mediates apoptosis. lpr is a mutation of the Fas gene caused by a retroviral insertion resulting in premature termination of transcription and aberrant splicing of Fas mRNA. Mice homozygous for the lpr gene develop lymphoproliferation and produce autoantibodies closely resembling those of human systemic lupus erythematosus. While lpr mice have been reported to express low levels of normally spliced Fas mRNA, it is unknown whether they express functional Fas protein. Here we show that splenocytes from lpr mice that have been damaged by gamma-irradiation expressed Fas protein. Fas was up-regulated on irradiated B6 cells and could be detected on B6/lpr cells undergoing apoptosis following in vitro culture. Detection of Fas on live lpr cells was demonstrable when apoptosis was blocked by zinc. In a short term chimera system, Fas was shown to play a role, in vivo, in the disposition of radiation-injured cells from both normal and lpr mice. The addition of anti-Fas Ab to in vitro cultures resulted in an increase in apoptosis in both B6 and B6/lpr cells. Detection of intact Fas message and low levels of Fas protein in lpr mice has led to the consideration of lpr as a leaky mutation. This study demonstrates that lpr mice can produce functional Fas protein. This system is also appropriate for identifying the in vivo role of Fas/FasL in apoptosis following other cell manipulations.

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