The potential role of caveolin-1 in inhibition of aquaporins during the AVD.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: During apoptosis, the first morphological change is a distinct cell shrinkage known as the AVD (apoptotic volume decrease). This event is driven by a loss of intracellular K(+), which creates an osmotic gradient, drawing water out of the cell through AQPs (aquaporins). Loss of water in balance with K(+) would create a shrunken cell with an equivalent intracellular concentration of K(+) ([K(+)](i) = 140 mM). However, we have previously shown that the [K(+)](i) of the shrunken apoptotic cell is 35 mM, and this level is absolutely essential for the activation of apoptotic enzymes. We have recently found that AQPs are inactivated following the AVD, so that continued loss of K(+) will reduce the intracellular concentration to this critical level. Using thymocytes, we have investigated the expression profile and regulation of the AQP family members. RESULTS: In the present study, we have found that AQP1, AQP8 and AQP9 are present in non-apoptotic thymocytes and localized primarily to the plasma membrane. Expression and localization did not change when these cells were induced to undergo apoptosis by growth factor withdrawal for 24 h. To explore other possible mechanisms by which these water channels are inactivated, we investigated their association with CAV-1 (caveolin-1), binding to which is known to inactivate a variety of proteins. We found that CAV-1 is present in thymocytes and that this protein co-localizes with a portion of AQP1 in normal (non-apoptotic) thymocytes. However, thymocytes induced to undergo apoptosis greatly increase their AQP1/CAV-1 association. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these results indicate that AQPs are localized to the plasma membrane of shrunken apoptotic thymocytes where increased binding to CAV-1 potentially inactivates them. AQP inactivation, coupled with continued K(+) efflux, then allows the [K(+)](i) to decrease to levels conducive for the activation of downstream apoptotic enzymes and the completion of the apoptotic cascade.
Jablonski, EM; Hughes, FM
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