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We previously established Fas-resistant variant clones from the human T-cell leukemia lines Jurkat and SUP-T13. Comparative gene expression analysis of the Fas-resistant and Fas-sensitive clones revealed several genes that were aberrantly expressed in the Fas-resistant clones. One of the genes, esophageal cancer-related gene 4 (ECRG4), contained a VDAC2-like domain that might be associated with apoptotic signals. In the present study, we examined the subcellular localization and function of ECRG4 in Fas-mediated apoptosis. By confocal fluorescence microscopy, ECRG4-EGFP fusion protein was detected in mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus in gene-transfected HeLa cells. Overexpression of ECRG4 in Fas-sensitive Jurkat cells inhibited mitochondrial membrane permeability transition, leading to resistance against Fas-induced apoptosis. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha-induced apoptosis was also suppressed in ECRG4-overexpressing Jurkat cells. Immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that ECRG4 is associated with procaspase-8. The inhibitory mechanism included the inhibition of caspase-8 activity and Bid cleavage. Since ECRG4 expression is downregulated in activated T cells, our results suggest that ECRG4 is a novel antiapoptotic gene which is involved in the negative regulation of caspase-8-mediated apoptosis in T cells.


Junichi Matsuzaki, Toshihiko Torigoe, Yoshihiko Hirohashi, Kenjiro Kamiguchi, Yasuaki Tamura, Tomohide Tsukahara, Terufumi Kubo, Akari Takahashi, Emiri Nakazawa, Eri Saka, Kazuyo Yasuda, Shuji Takahashi, Noriyuki Sato. ECRG4 is a negative regulator of caspase-8-mediated apoptosis in human T-leukemia cells. Carcinogenesis. 2012 May;33(5):996-1003

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PMID: 22411956

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