Transfer of IP(3) through gap junctions is critical, but not sufficient, for the spread of apoptosis
Decrock, E Krysko, D V Vinken, M Kaczmarek, A Crispino, G Bol, M Wang, Na De Bock, M De Vuyst, E Naus, C C Rogiers, V Vandenabeele, P Erneux, C Mammano, F Bultynck, Geert Leybaert, L # ×
Cell Death and Differentiation vol:19 issue:6 pages:947-957
Decades of research have indicated that gap junction channels contribute to the propagation of apoptosis between neighboring cells. Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3)) has been proposed as the responsible molecule conveying the apoptotic message, although conclusive results are still missing. We investigated the role of IP(3) in a model of gap junction-mediated spreading of cytochrome C-induced apoptosis. We used targeted loading of high-molecular-weight agents interfering with the IP(3) signaling cascade in the apoptosis trigger zone and cell death communication zone of C6-glioma cells heterologously expressing connexin (Cx)43 or Cx26. Blocking IP(3) receptors or stimulating IP(3) degradation both diminished the propagation of apoptosis. Apoptosis spread was also reduced in cells expressing mutant Cx26, which forms gap junctions with an impaired IP(3) permeability. However, IP(3) by itself was not able to induce cell death, but only potentiated cell death propagation when the apoptosis trigger was applied. We conclude that IP(3) is a key necessary messenger for communicating apoptotic cell death via gap junctions, but needs to team up with other factors to become a fully pro-apoptotic messenger.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 25 November 2011; doi:10.1038/cdd.2011.176.