Proapoptotic activity of Caenorhabditis elegans CED-4 protein in Drosophila: Implicated mechanisms for caspase activation

Hirotaka Kanuka, Shin Hisahara, Kazunobu Sawamoto, Shin Ichi Shoji, Hideyuki Okano, Masayuki Miura

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39 Citations (Scopus)


CED-4 protein plays an important role in the induction of programmed cell death in Caenorhabditis elegans through the activation of caspases. However, the precise mechanisms by which it activates caspases remain unknown. To investigate the conservation of CED-4 function in evolution, transgenic Drosophila lines that express CED-4 in the compound eye were generated. Ectopic expression of CED-4 in the eyes induced massive apoptotic cell death through caspase activation. An ATP-binding site (P-loop) mutation in CED-4 (K165R) causes a loss of function in its ability to activate Drosophila caspase, and an ATPase inhibitor blocks the CED-4-dependent caspase activity in Drosophila S2 cells. Immunoprecipitation analysis showed that both CED-4 and CED-4 (K165R) bind directly to Drosophila caspase drICE, and the overexpression of CED-4 (K165R) inhibits CED-4-, ecdysone-, or cycloheximide-dependent caspase activation in S2 cells. Furthermore, CED-4 (K165R) partially prevented cell death induced by CED-4 in Drosophila compound eyes. Thus, CED-4 function is evolutionarily conserved in Drosophila, and the molecular mechanisms by which CED-4 activates caspases might require ATP binding and direct interaction with the caspases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 5
Externally publishedYes


  • Programmed cell death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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