A caspase-8-independent signaling pathway activated by Fas ligation leads to exposure of the Bak N terminus

Zhang L, Shimizu S, Sakamaki K, Yonehara S and Tsujimoto Y
Source: J Biol Chem
Publication Date: (2004)
Issue: 279(32): 33865-33874
Cells used in publication:
Embryonic fibroblast, mouse (MEF) immort
Species: mouse
Tissue Origin: embryo
Bak is a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family that is activated by apoptotic stimulation: its activation is characterized by conformational changes such as exposure of the N terminus and oligomerization. In death receptor-mediated apoptosis, the activation of Bak depends on activation of caspase-8. However, we found that exposure of the N terminus of Bak (but not oligomerization) can occur in the absence of active caspase-8. Although exposure of the N terminus of Bak without oligomerization is not sufficient to release cytochrome c from the mitochondria and commit cells to apoptosis, this change sensitizes the mitochondria to apoptotic signals (including Bid) and thus sensitizes cells to apoptotic death. Fas-induced, caspase-8-independent exposure of the N terminus of Bak is blocked by staurosporine, a pan protein kinase inhibitor. These results suggest that Fas stimulation not only activates caspase-8, but also a distinct signaling pathway involving protein kinase(s) to induce exposure of the N terminus of Bak.