Regulation of membrane release in apoptosis.
Apoptosis is a fundamental process of cell regulation whereby cells execute one or more biochemical programs leading to cell death. Several mechanisms have been evaluated and suggested to play roles in the regulation of apoptosis, including the activation of phospholipase A2 (PLA2), usually measured as release of 3H-labelled arachidonic acid (AA) from prelabelled cells. The current study was aimed at examining the role of PLA2 in regulating apoptosis in response to several inducers (such as vincristine and etoposide) in lymphoid cell lines. Cells were labelled with [3H]fatty acids and the released radioactivity was characterized. These studies indicated that the AA release assay did not reflect release of non-esterified fatty acid via activation of the PLA2 pathway. Rather, studies using TLC and electron microscopy showed that AA release reflected a previously unsuspected shedding of a heterogeneous population of membrane vesicles and fragments, probably as components of apoptotic bodies. Further studies demonstrated that this process is an integral part of apoptosis. Overexpression of Bcl-2 or the addition of caspase peptide inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-fluoromethane prevented the characteristic morphological changes of cell death, and completely inhibited the release of membrane vesicles and fragments. On the other hand, release of membrane vesicles and fragments was caused by various inducers of apoptosis, as measured by release of either 3H-labelled AA or palmitic acid. Thus the present study demonstrates that the release of membrane lipids during apoptosis defines a new assay for apoptosis and has allowed the investigation of the mechanisms regulating formation of apoptotic bodies.
Zhang, J; Driscoll, TA; Hannun, YA; Obeid, LM
Volume / Issue
Start / End Page
Pubmed Central ID
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)