ABSTRACT: Caspase plays an important role in apoptosis. We report here that farnesyltransferase/geranylgeranyltransferase (FTase/GGTase)-alpha, a common subunit of FTase (alpha/beta(FTase)) and GGTase I (alpha/beta(GGTase)), was cleaved by caspase-3 during apoptosis. FTase/GGTase-alpha (49 kDa) was cleaved to 35 kDa (p35) in the Rat-2/H-ras, W4 and Rat-1 cells treated with FTase inhibitor (LB42708), anti-Fas antibody and etoposide, respectively. This cleavage was inhibited by caspase-inhibitors (YVAD-cmk, DEVD-cho). Serial N-terminal deletions and site-directed mutagenesis showed that Asp59 of FTase/GGTase-alpha was cleaved by caspase-3. The common FTase/GGTase-alpha subunit, but not the beta subunits, of the FTase or GGTase I protein complexes purified from baculovirus-infected SF-9 cells was cleaved to be inactivated by purified caspase-3. In contrast, FTase mutant protein complex [(D(59)A)alpha/beta(FTase)] was resistant to caspase-3. Expression of either the cleavage product (60-379) or anti-sense of FTase/GGTase-alpha induced cell death in Rat-2/H-ras cells. Furthermore, expression of (D(59)A)FTase/GGTase-alpha mutant significantly desensitized cells to etoposide-induced death. Taken together, we suggest that cleavage of prenyltransferase by caspase contributes to the progression of apoptosis.
Oncogene 02/2001; 20(3):358-66. · 6.37 Impact Factor