Browsing by Author "Yu, Liying"

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  • Yu, Liying (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Programed cell death (PCD) is a fundamental biological process that is as essential for the development and tissue homeostasis as cell proliferation, differentiation and adaptation. The main mode of PCD - apoptosis - occurs via specifi c pathways, such as mitochondrial or death receptor pathway. In the developing nervous system, programed death broadly occurs, mainly triggered by the defi ciency of different survival-promoting neurotrophic factors, but the respective death pathways are poorly studied. In one of the best-characterized models, sympathetic neurons deprived of nerve growth factor (NGF) die via the classical mitochondrial apoptotic pathway. The main aim of this study was to describe the death programs activated in these and other neuronal populations by using neuronal cultures deprived of other neurotrophic factors. First, this study showed that the cultured sympathetic neurons deprived of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) die via a novel non-classical death pathway, in which mitochondria and death receptors are not involved. Indeed, cytochrome c was not released into the cytosol, Bax, caspase-9, and caspase-3 were not involved, and Bcl-xL overexpression did not prevent the death. This pathway involved activation of mixed lineage kinases and c-jun, and crucially requires caspase-2 and -7. Second, it was shown that deprivation of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) from cultured sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia kills them via a dependence receptor pathway, including cleavage of the NT- 3 receptor TrkC and liberation of a pro-apoptotic dependence domain. Indeed, death of NT-3-deprived neurons was blocked by a dominant-negative construct interfering with TrkC cleavage. Also, the uncleavable mutant of TrkC, replacing the siRNA-silenced endogeneous TrkC, was not able to trigger death upon NT-3 removal. Such a pathway was not activated in another subpopulation of sensory neurons deprived of NGF. Third, it was shown that cultured midbrain dopaminergic neurons deprived of GDNF or brainderived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) kills them by still a different pathway, in which death receptors and caspases, but not mitochondria, are activated. Indeed, cytochrome c was not released into the cytosol, Bax was not activated, and Bcl-xL did not block the death, but caspases were necessary for the death of these neurons. Blocking the components of the death receptor pathway - caspase-8, FADD, or Fas - blocked the death, whereas activation of Fas accelerated it. The activity of Fas in the dopaminergic neurons could be controlled by the apoptosis inhibitory molecule FAIML. For these studies we developed a novel assay to study apoptosis in the transfected dopaminergic neurons. Thus, a novel death pathway, characteristic for the dopaminergic neurons was described. The study suggests death receptors as possible targets for the treatment of Parkinson s disease, which is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons.