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Requirement for GD3 Ganglioside in CD95- and Ceramide-Induced Apoptosis

Science  12 Sep 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5332, pp. 1652-1655
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5332.1652

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Abstract

Gangliosides participate in development and tissue differentiation. Cross-linking of the apoptosis-inducing CD95 protein (also called Fas or APO-1) in lymphoid and myeloid tumor cells triggered GD3 ganglioside synthesis and transient accumulation. CD95-induced GD3 accumulation depended on integral receptor “death domains” and on activation of a family of cysteine proteases called caspases. Cell-permeating ceramides, which are potent inducers of apoptosis, also triggered GD3 synthesis. GD3 disrupted mitochondrial transmembrane potential (ΔΨm), and induced apoptosis, in a caspase-independent fashion. Transient overexpression of the GD3 synthase gene directly triggered apoptosis. Pharmacological inhibition of GD3 synthesis and exposure to GD3 synthase antisense oligodeoxynucleotides prevented CD95-induced apoptosis. Thus, GD3 ganglioside mediates the propagation of CD95-generated apoptotic signals in hematopoietic cells.

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