Caspase-3-dependent export of TCTP: a novel pathway for antiapoptotic intercellular communication

Cell Death Differ. 2011 Mar;18(3):549-62. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2010.126. Epub 2010 Oct 22.


The apoptotic program incorporates a paracrine component of importance in fostering tissue repair at sites of apoptotic cell deletion. As this paracrine pathway likely bears special importance in maladaptive intercellular communication leading to vascular remodeling, we aimed at further defining the mediators produced by apoptotic endothelial cells (EC), using comparative and functional proteomics. Apoptotic EC were found to release nanovesicles displaying ultrastructural characteristics, protein markers and functional activity that differed from apoptotic blebs. Tumor susceptibility gene 101 and translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP) were identified in nanovesicle fractions purified from medium conditioned by apoptotic EC and absent from purified apoptotic blebs. Immunogold labeling identified TCTP on the surface of nanovesicles purified from medium conditioned by apoptotic EC and within multivesicular blebs in apoptotic EC. These nanovesicles induced an extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK 1/2)-dependent antiapoptotic phenotype in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), whereas apoptotic blebs did not display antiapoptotic activity on VSMC. Caspase-3 biochemical inhibition and caspase-3 RNA interference in EC submitted to a proapoptotic stimulus inhibited the release of nanovesicles. Also, TCTP siRNAs in EC attenuated the antiapoptotic activity of purified nanovesicles on VSMC. Collectively, these results identify TCTP-bearing nanovesicles as a novel component of the paracrine apoptotic program of potential importance in vascular repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism*
  • Cell Communication*
  • Endothelial Cells / cytology
  • Endothelial Cells / enzymology
  • Endothelial Cells / ultrastructure
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Exosomes / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure
  • Protein Transport
  • Rats
  • Serum
  • Umbilical Veins / cytology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • tumor protein, translationally-controlled 1
  • Caspase 3