In addition to cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, DNA fragmentation and phosphatidylserine exposure, intracellular acidification represents a hallmark of apoptosis. Although the mechanisms underlying cytosolic acidification during apoptosis remained largely elusive, a pivotal role of mitochondria has been proposed. In order to investigate the involvement of mitochondria in cytosolic acidification during apoptosis, we blocked the mitochondrial death pathway by overexpression of Bcl-2 and subsequently activated the death receptor pathway by anti-CD95 or TRAIL or the mitochondrial pathway by staurosporine. We show that Bcl-2 but not caspase inhibition prevented staurosporine-induced intracellular acidification. Thus, intracellular acidification in mitochondrial apoptosis is a Bcl-2-inhibitable, but caspase-independent process. In contrast, Bcl-2 only slightly delayed, but did not prevent intracellular acidification upon triggering of death receptors. The Na+/H+ exchanger NHE1 was partially degraded during apoptosis but only to a small extent and and at a delayed time point when cytosolic acidification was almost completed. We therefore conclude that cytosolic acidification is mitochondrially controlled in response to mitochondria-dependent death stimuli, but requires additional caspase-dependent mechanisms during death receptor-mediated apoptosis.
Apoptosis – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 29, 2006
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