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Caspase Activation of p21-Activated Kinase 2 Occurs During Cisplatin-Induced Apoptosis of SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cells and in SH-SY5Y Cell Culture Models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease

Author(s): Jerry W. Marlin | Yu-Wen E. Chang | Rolf Jakobi

Journal: Journal of Cell Death
ISSN 1179-0660

Volume: 2010;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 23;
Date: 2010;
Original page

p21-activated kinase 2 (PAK-2) appears to have a dual function in the regulation of cell survival and cell death. Activation of full-length PAK-2 by the p21 G-proteins Rac or Cdc42 stimulates cell survival. However, PAK-2 is unique among the PAK family because it is also activated through proteolytic cleavage by caspase 3 or similar caspases to generate the constitutively active PAK-2p34 fragment. Caspase activation of PAK-2 correlates with the induction of apoptosis in response to many stimuli and recombinant expression of PAK-2p34 has been shown to stimulate apoptosis in several human cell lines. Here, we show that caspase activation of PAK-2 also occurs during cisplatin-induced apoptosis of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells as well as in SH-SY5Y cell culture models for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Inhibition of mitochondrial complex I or of ubiquitin/proteasome-mediated protein degradation, which both appear to be involved in Parkinson’s disease, induce apoptosis and caspase activation of PAK-2 in SH-SY5Y cells. Overexpression of the amyloid precursor protein, which results in accumulation and aggregation of β-amyloid peptide, the main component of β-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease, also induces apoptosis and caspase activation of PAK-2 in SH-SY5Y cells. Expression of the PAK-2 regulatory domain inhibits caspase-activated PAK-2p34 and prevents apoptosis in 293T human embryonic kidney cells, indicating that caspase activation of PAK-2 is directly involved in the apoptotic response. This is the first evidence that caspase activation of PAK-2 correlates with apoptosis in cell culture models of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and that selective inhibition of caspase-activated PAK-2p34 could prevent apoptosis.
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