Involvement of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase activity in regulating Chk1-dependent apoptotic cell death.

Abstract:

The activity of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) is highly stimulated following DNA damage resulting in formation of DNA nicks and strand breaks. This leads to modification of numerous proteins, including itself, using NAD(+) as substrate and to exhaustion of intracellular ATP. A highly cytotoxic concentration of the DNA methylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) results in cellular ATP depletion and cell death primarily by necrosis in both wild-type and DNA polymerase beta null mouse fibroblasts. The loss of ATP can be prevented by the PARP inhibitor 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide (4-AN), and now cells die by an energy-dependent apoptotic pathway. We find that inhibition of PARP activity transforms a sub-lethal exposure to MMS into a highly cytotoxic event. Under this condition, ATP is not depleted and cell death is by apoptosis. The caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD, shifts the mechanism of cell death to necrosis indicating a caspase-dependent component of the apoptotic cell death. Co-exposure to the Chk1 inhibitor UCN-01 also produces a decrease in apoptotic cell death, but now there is an increase in viable cells and an enhancement in long-term survival. Taken together, our results suggest that inhibition of PARP activity, induced as a result of low dose MMS exposure, signals via a Chk1-dependent pathway for cell death by apoptosis.

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