Apoptotic DNA fragmentation factor maintains chromosome stability in a P53-independent manner.
DNA fragmentation factor (DFF)/caspase-activated DNase (CAD) is responsible for DNA fragmentation, a hallmark event during apoptosis. Although DNA fragmentation is an evolutionarily conserved process across species, its biological function is not clearly understood. In this study, we constructed cell lines expressing a mutant ICAD (inhibitor of CAD) protein that is resistant to caspase cleavage and therefore constantly binds to DFF/CAD and inhibits DNA fragmentation. We found that irradiation of these cells led to increased chromosome aberrations and aneuploidy when compared with their parental controls. The increased chromosome instability is observed irrespective of cellular P53 status, suggesting that the effect of DFF/CAD is independent of P53. Inhibition of apoptotic DNA fragmentation resulted in increased clonogenic survival of irradiated cells and a delay in removal of cells with DNA damages induced by radiation, an effect similar to that in cells with p53 mutations. Consistent with DFF/CAD's effect on clonogenic survival, tumors established from cells deficient in DNA fragmentation showed enhanced growth in nude mice. Therefore, our results suggest that DFF/CAD plays an important and P53-independent role in maintaining chromosome stability and suppressing tumor development.
Yan, B; Wang, H; Zhuo, D; Li, F; Kon, T; Dewhirst, M; Li, C-Y
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