Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.345, No.2, 608-616, 2006
Caspase-dependant activation of chymotrypsin-like proteases mediates nuclear events during Jurkat T cell apoptosis
Apoptosis involves a cascade of biochemical and morphological changes resulting in the systematic disintegration of the cell. Caspases are central mediators of this process. Supporting and primary roles for serine proteases as pro-apoptotic mediators have also been highlighted. Evidence for such roles comes largely from the use of pharmacological inhibitors; as a consequence information regarding their apoptotic function and biochemical properties has been limited. Here, we circumvented limitations associated with traditional serine protease inhibitors through use of a fluorescently labelled inhibitor of serine proteases (FLISP) that allowed for analysis of the specificity, regulation and positioning of apoptotic serine proteases within a classical apoptotic cascade. We demonstrate that staurosporine triggers a caspase-dependant induction of chymotrypsin-like activity in the nucleus of apoptotic Jurkat T cells. We show that serine protease activity is required for the generation of late stage nuclear events including condensation, fragmentation and DNA degradation. Furthermore, we reveal caspase-dependant activation of two chymotrypsin-like protein species that we hypothesize mediate cell death-associated nuclear events. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.