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Molecular and cellular biology

Cdk1/cyclin B1 controls Fas-mediated apoptosis by regulating caspase-8 activity.


PMID 20937773

Abstract

Caspase activation is a hallmark of apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of caspase-8 activation within the extrinsic death pathway are not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that procaspase-8 is phosphorylated in mitotic cells by Cdk1/cyclin B1 on Ser-387, which is located at the N terminus of the catalytic subunit p10. This phosphorylation of procaspase-8 on Ser-387 occurs in cancer cell lines, as well as in primary breast tissues and lymphocytes. Furthermore, RNA interference-mediated silencing of cyclin B1 or treatment with the Cdk1 inhibitor RO-3306 enhances the Fas-mediated activation and processing of procaspase-8 in mitotic cells. A nonphosphorylatable procaspase-8 (S387A) facilitates Fas-induced apoptosis during mitosis. Our findings suggest that Cdk1/cyclin B1 activity shields human cells against extrinsic death stimuli and unravel the molecular details of the cross talk between cell cycle and extrinsic apoptotic pathways. Finally, this new mechanism may also contribute to tumorigenesis.