Caspase-8 Activation and Bid Cleavage Contribute to MCF7 Cellular Execution in a Caspase-3-dependent Manner during Staurosporine-mediated Apoptosis
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There are at least two distinct classes of caspases, initiators (e.g. caspases-8, -9, and -10) and effectors (e.g. caspase-3). Furthermore, it is believed that there are two distinct primary apoptotic signaling pathways, one of which is mediated by death receptors controlled by caspases-8/10, and the other by the release of cytochrome c and activation of a caspase-9/Apaf1/cytochrome c apoptosome. However, several recent reports have demonstrated that caspase-8, and its substrate Bid, are frequently activated in response to certain apoptotic stimuli in a death receptor-independent manner. These results suggest that significant cross-talk may exist between these two distinct signaling arms, allowing each to take advantage of elements unique to the other. Here we provide evidence that activation of caspase-8, and subsequent Bid cleavage, does indeed participate in cytochrome c-mediated apoptosis, at least in certain circumstances and cell types. Furthermore, the participation of activated caspase-3 is essential for activation of caspase-8 and Bid processing to occur. Although caspase-8 activation is not required for the execution of a cytochrome c-mediated death signal, we found that it greatly shortens the execution time. Thus, caspase-8 involvement in cytochrome c-mediated cell death may help to amplify weaker death signals and ensure that apoptosis occurs within a certain time frame.
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