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. 2007 Jun;14(6):1222-33.
doi: 10.1038/sj.cdd.4402122. Epub 2007 Mar 23.

Positive Regulation of Apoptosis by HCA66, a New Apaf-1 Interacting Protein, and Its Putative Role in the Physiopathology of NF1 Microdeletion Syndrome Patients

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Positive Regulation of Apoptosis by HCA66, a New Apaf-1 Interacting Protein, and Its Putative Role in the Physiopathology of NF1 Microdeletion Syndrome Patients

V Piddubnyak et al. Cell Death Differ. .
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Abstract

As a component of the apoptosome, a caspase-activating complex, Apaf-1 plays a central role in the mitochondrial caspase activation pathway of apoptosis. We report here the identification of a novel Apaf-1 interacting protein, hepatocellular carcinoma antigen 66 (HCA66) that is able to modulate selectively Apaf-1-dependent apoptosis through its direct association with the CED4 domain of Apaf-1. Expression of HCA66 was able to potentiate Apaf-1, but not receptor-mediated apoptosis, by increasing downstream caspase activity following cytochrome c release from the mitochondria. Conversely, cells depleted of HCA66 were severely impaired for apoptosome-dependent apoptosis. Interestingly, expression of the Apaf-1-interacting domain of HCA66 had the opposite effect of the full-length protein, interfering with the Apaf-1 apoptotic pathway. Using a cell-free system, we showed that reduction of HCA66 expression was associated with a diminished amount of caspase-9 in the apoptosome, resulting in a lower ability of the apoptosome to activate caspase-3. HCA66 maps to chromosome 17q11.2 and is among the genes heterozygously deleted in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) microdeletion syndrome patients. These patients often have a distinct phenotype compared to other NF1 patients, including a more severe tumour burden. Our results suggest that reduced expression of HCA66, owing to haploinsufficiency of HCA66 gene, could render NF1 microdeleted patients-derived cells less susceptible to apoptosis.

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