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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2004 (2004), Issue 1, Pages 41-51
Research article

Evidence for a Novel, Caspase-8-Independent, Fas Death Domain-Mediated Apoptotic Pathway

1The Center for Blood Research, Harvard Medical School, 800 Huntington Avenue, Boston 02115, MA, USA
2Department of Pediatrics, Steele Memorial Children's Research Center, University of Arizona, Tucson 85724, AZ, USA

Received 11 August 2003; Accepted 15 September 2003

Copyright © 2004 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Certain caspase-8 null cell lines demonstrate resistance to Fas-induced apoptosis, indicating that the Fas/FasL apoptotic pathway may be caspase-8-dependent. Some reports, however, have shown that Fas induces cell death independent of caspase-8. Here we provide evidence for an alternative, caspase-8-independent, Fas death domain-mediated apoptotic pathway. Murine 12B1-D1 cells express procaspase-3, -8, and -9, which were activated upon the dimerization of Fas death domain. Bid was cleaved and mitochondrial transmembrane potential was disrupted in this apoptotic process. All apoptotic events were completely blocked by the broad-spectrum caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-FMK, but not by other peptide caspase inhibitors. Cyclosporin A (CsA), which inhibits mitochondrial transition pore permeability, blocked neither pore permeability disruption nor caspase activation. However, CsA plus caspase-8 inhibitor blocked all apoptotic events of 12B1-D1 induced by Fas death domain dimerization. Our data therefore suggest that there is a novel, caspase-8-independent, Z-VAD-FMK-inhibitable, apoptotic pathway in 12B1-D1 cells that targets mitochondria directly.