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p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates Bax translocation in cyanide-induced apoptosis

, : p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase regulates Bax translocation in cyanide-induced apoptosis. Toxicological Sciences 75(1): 99-107

Execution of cyanide-induced apoptosis is mediated by release of cytochrome c from mitochondria. To determine how cyanide initiates cytochrome c release, Bax translocation was investigated in primary cultures of cortical neurons. Under nonapoptotic (control) conditions, Bax resided predominantly in the cytoplasm. After 300-microM cyanide treatment for 1 h, Bax translocated to the mitochondria, as shown by immunocytochemical staining and subcellular fractionation; Western blot analysis confirmed "cytosol-to-mitochondria" translocation of Bax. Temporal analysis showed that Bax translocation preceded cytochrome c release from the mitochondria, which was initiated 3 h after cyanide treatment. In double-immunofluorescence labeling for both Bax and cytochrome c, it was observed that cytochrome c was released only in cells showing Bax in mitochondria. The role of p38 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in Bax translocation was studied. The p38 MAP kinase was activated 30 min after cyanide, and its phosphorylation level of activity began to decrease 3 h later. SB203580, a p38 MAP kinase inhibitor, blocked translocation of Bax to mitochondria, whereas SB202474, a control peptide, had no effect on translocation. Inhibition of p38 MAP kinase by SB203580 blocked all downstream effects of Bax translocation, including cytochrome c release, caspase activation, and internucleosomal DNA fragmentation. These results demonstrated that Bax translocation is critical for cyanide-induced cytochrome c release and that p38 MAP kinase regulates Bax translocation from cytosol to mitochondria.


PMID: 12805646

DOI: 10.1093/toxsci/kfg157

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