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During apoptosis, myosin light chain phosphorylation induced by ROCK 1, activated by caspase 3-mediated cleavage, results in the formation of membrane blebs. Additionally, actin-myosin-based contraction induced by the activation of ROCK is involved in the apoptotic nuclear disintegration. In previous studies, it was reported that ROCK 1 was only cleaved by caspase 3 in cell death and caspase 7 was involved in truncation of ROCK 1 in in-vitro cell-free conditions. Here we reported that caspase 2 is involved in the truncation of ROCK 1 directly as well as caspase 3 and caspase 7. Utilizing caspase 3-deficient MCF-7, MDA-MB-231 and HeLa cells, we demonstrated that caspase 2 produced an active fragment of approximately 130 kDa of ROCK 1 in cell death. The cleaved active fragment of ROCK 1 is also responsible for the formation of membrane blebbing in cell death. Interestingly, caspase 2-mediated cleavage of ROCK 1 might occur in the region where caspase 3 truncates ROCK 1. Moreover, the presence of an active cleaved form of ROCK 1 in the nuclei implies that this fragment might play a role in the disruption of nuclear integrity. Taken together, it was determined that caspase 2 has a role in the truncation of ROCK 1 in cell death, and a new activation mechanism has been defined for ROCK 1. Copyright © 2021 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Aysun Özdemir, Burçin İbişoğlu, Yaprak Dilber Şimay Demir, Elifnur Benhür, Farzaneh Valipour, Mustafa Ark. A novel proteolytic cleavage of ROCK 1 in cell death: Not only by caspases 3 and 7 but also by caspase 2. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2021 Apr 02;547:118-124

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PMID: 33610039

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