Signaling pathways from membrane lipid rafts to JNK1 activation in reactive nitrogen species-induced non-apoptotic cell death

Wu YT, Zhang S, Kim YS, Tan HL, Whiteman M, Ong CN, Liu ZG, Ichijo H, Shen HM
Source: Cell Death Differ
Publication Date: (2008)
Issue: 15(2): 386-97
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
Embryonic fibroblast, mouse (MEF) immort
Species: mouse
Tissue Origin: embryo
NucleofectorĀ® I/II/2b
At present, the signaling pathways controlling reactive nitrogen species (RNS)-induced non-apoptotic cell death are relatively less understood. In this work, various RNS donors are found to induce caspase-independent non-apoptotic cell death in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF). In search of the molecular mechanisms, we first established the role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in RNS-induced non-apoptotic cell death. RNS readily activate JNK, and the jnk1-/- MEF are resistant to RNS-induced cell death. Moreover, the reconstitution of JNK1 effectively restores the sensitivity to RNS. Next, we identified tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) as the essential upstream molecules for RNS-induced JNK activation and cell death. RNS fail to activate JNK and induce cell death in traf2-/- MEF; and reconstitution of TRAF2 effectively restores the responsiveness of traf2-/- MEF to RNS. Moreover, RNS-induced ASK1 activation is impaired in traf2-/- cells and overexpression of a mutant ASK1 protein suppresses RNS-induced cell death in wild-type MEF cells. Last, we explored the signaling events upstream of TRAF2 and found that translocation of TRAF2 and JNK1 onto membrane lipid rafts is required for RNS-mediated JNK1 activation and cell death. Taken together, data from our study reveal a novel signaling pathway regulating RNS-induced JNK1 activation and non-apoptotic cell death.