Bcl-xL acts downstream of caspase-8 activation by the CD95 death-inducing signaling complex

J. P. Medema, C. Scaffidi, P. H. Krammer, M. E. Peter

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The Bcl-2 family member Bcl-xL has often been correlated with apoptosis resistance. We have shown recently that in peripheral human T cells resistance to CD95-mediated apoptosis is characterized by a lack of caspase-8 recruitment to the CD95 death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) and by increased expression of Bcl-xL (Peter, M. E., Kischkel, F. C., Scheuerpflug, C. G., Medema, J. P., Debatin, K.-M., and Krammer, P. H. (1997) Eur. J. Immunol. 27, 1207-1212). This raises the possibility that Bcl-xL directly prevents caspase-8 activation by the DISC. To test this hypothesis a cell line in which CD95 signaling was inhibited by overexpression of Bcl-xL was used. In these MCF7-Fas-bcl-xL cells Bcl-xL had no effect on the recruitment of caspase-8 to the DISC. It did not affect the activity of the DISC nor the generation of the caspase-8 active subunits p18 and p10. In contrast, cleavage of a typical substrate for caspase-3-like proteases, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, was inhibited in comparison with the control-transfected CD95-sensitive MCF7-Fas cells. To test whether Bcl-xL would inhibit active caspase-8 subunits in the cytoplasm, a number of immunoprecipitation experiments were performed. Using monoclonal antibodies directed against different domains of caspase-8, anti-Bcl-xL antibodies, or fusion proteins of glutathione S-transferase with different domains of caspase-8, no evidence for a direct or indirect physical interaction between caspase-8 and Bcl-xL was found. Moreover, overexpression of Bcl-xL did not inhibit the activity of the caspase-8 active subunits p18/p10. Therefore, in this cell line that has become resistant to CD95-induced apoptosis due to overexpression of Bcl-xL, Bcl-xL acts independently and downstream of caspase-8
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3388-3393
JournalJournal of biological chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998

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