The large subunit of replication factor C is a substrate for caspase-3 in vitro and is cleaved by a caspase-3-like protease during Fas-mediated apoptosis.

Abstract:

Caspase-3 is an ICE-like protease activated during apoptosis induced by different stimuli. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), the first characterized substrate of caspase-3, shares a region of homology with the large subunit of Replication Factor C (RF-C), a five-subunit complex that is part of the processive eukaryotic DNA polymerase holoenzymes. Caspase-3 cleaves PARP at a DEVD-G motif present in the 140 kDa subunit of RF-C (RFC140) and evolutionarily conserved. We show that cleavage of RFC140 during Fas-mediated apoptosis in Jurkat cells and lymphocytes results in generation of multiple fragments. Cleavage is inhibited by the caspase-3-like protease inhibitor Ac-DEVD-CHO but not the caspase-1/ICE-type protease inhibitor Ac-YVAD-CHO. In addition, recombinant caspase-3 cleaves RFC140 in vitro at least at three different sites in the C-terminal half of the protein. Using amino-terminal microsequencing of radioactive fragments, we identified three sites: DEVD723G, DLVD922S and IETD1117A. We did not detect cleavage of small subunits of RF-C of 36, 37, 38 and 40 kDa by recombinant caspase-3 or by apoptotic Jurkat cell lysates. Cleavage of RFC140 during apoptosis inactivates its function in DNA replication and generates truncated forms that further inhibit DNA replication. These results identify RFC140 as a critical target for caspase-3-like proteases and suggest that caspases could mediate cell cycle arrest.

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