Cell death & disease

JNK1/2 regulate Bid by direct phosphorylation at Thr59 in response to ALDH1L1.

PMID 25077544


BH3 interacting-domain death agonist (Bid) is a BH3-only pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins. Its function in apoptosis is associated with the proteolytic cleavage to the truncated form tBid, mainly by caspase-8. tBid translocates to mitochondria and assists Bax and Bak in induction of apoptosis. c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-dependent alternative processing of Bid to jBid was also reported. We have previously shown that the folate stress enzyme 10-formyltetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase (ALDH1L1) activates JNK1 and JNK2 in cancer cells as a pro-apoptotic response. Here we report that in PC-3 prostate cancer cells, JNK1/2 phosphorylate Bid at Thr59 within the caspase cleavage site in response to ALDH1L1. In vitro, all three JNK isoforms, JNK 1-3, phosphorylated Thr59 of Bid with JNK1 being the least active. Thr59 phosphorylation protected Bid from cleavage by caspase-8, resulting in strong accumulation of the full-length protein and its translocation to mitochondria. Interestingly, although we did not observe jBid in response to ALDH1L1 in PC-3 cells, transient expression of Bid mutants lacking the caspase-8 cleavage site resulted in strong accumulation of jBid. Of note, a T59D mutant mimicking constitutive phosphorylation revealed more profound cleavage of Bid to jBid. JNK-driven Bid accumulation had a pro-apoptotic effect in our study: small interfering RNA silencing of either JNK1/2 or Bid prevented Bid phosphorylation and accumulation, and rescued ALDH1L1-expressing cells. As full-length Bid is a weaker apoptogen than tBid, we propose that the phosphorylation of Bid by JNKs, followed by the accumulation of the full-length protein, delays attainment of apoptosis, and allows the cell to evaluate the stress and make a decision regarding the response strategy. This mechanism perhaps can be modified by the alternative cleavage of phospho-T59 Bid to jBid at some conditions.