Research Articles

Caspase-3 mediated release of SAC domain containing fragment from Par-4 is necessary for the sphingosine-induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells



Background: Prostate apoptosis response-4 (Par-4) is a tumor-suppressor protein that selectively activates and induces apoptosis in cancer cells, but not in normal cells. The cancer specific pro-apoptotic function of Par-4 is encoded in its centrally located SAC (Selective for Apoptosis induction in Cancer cells) domain (amino acids 137–195). The SAC domain itself is capable of nuclear entry, caspase activation, inhibition of NF-κB activity, and induction of apoptosis in cancer cells. However, the precise mechanism(s) of how the SAC domain is released from Par-4, in response to apoptotic stimulation, is not well explored.

Results: In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that sphingosine (SPH), a member of the sphingolipid family, induces caspase-dependant cleavage of Par-4, leading to the release of SAC domain containing fragment from it. Par-4 is cleaved at the EEPD131G site on incubation with caspase-3 in vitro, and by treating cells with several anti-cancer agents. The caspase-3 mediated cleavage of Par-4 is blocked by addition of the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-fmk, caspase-3 specific inhibitor Ac-DEVD-CHO, and by introduction of alanine substitution for D131 residue. Moreover, suppression of SPH-induced Akt dephosphorylation also abrogated the caspase dependant cleavage of Par-4.

Conclusion: Evidence provided here shows that Par-4 is cleaved by caspase-3 during SPH-induced apoptosis. Cleavage of Par-4 leads to the generation of SAC domain containing fragment which may possibly be essential and sufficient to induce or augment apoptosis in cancer cells.


Par-4CaspaseApoptosisSAC domainCleavageSphingosine
  • Year: 2013
  • Volume: 8
  • Page/Article: Art. 2
  • DOI: 10.1186/1750-2187-8-2
  • Submitted on 24 Sep 2012
  • Accepted on 23 Feb 2013
  • Published on 27 Feb 2013