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Nitric oxide-induced nuclear GAPDH activates p300/CBP and mediates apoptosis


Besides its role in glycolysis, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) initiates a cell death cascade1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9. Diverse apoptotic stimuli activate inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) or neuronal NOS (nNOS), with the generated nitric oxide (NO) S-nitrosylating GAPDH, abolishing its catalytic activity and conferring on it the ability to bind to Siah1, an E3-ubiquitin-ligase with a nuclear localization signal (NLS). The GAPDH–Siah1 protein complex, in turn, translocates to the nucleus and mediates cell death; these processes are blocked by procedures that interfere with GAPDH–Siah1 binding. Nuclear events induced by GAPDH to kill cells have been obscure. Here we show that nuclear GAPDH is acetylated at Lys 160 by the acetyltransferase p300/CREB binding protein (CBP) through direct protein interaction, which in turn stimulates the acetylation and catalytic activity of p300/CBP. Consequently, downstream targets of p300/CBP, such as p53 (Refs 10,11,12,13,14,15), are activated and cause cell death. A dominant-negative mutant GAPDH with the substitution of Lys 160 to Arg (GAPDH-K160R) prevents activation of p300/CBP, blocks induction of apoptotic genes and decreases cell death. Our findings reveal a pathway in which NO-induced nuclear GAPDH mediates cell death through p300/CBP.

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Figure 1: GAPDH is acetylated in the nucleus at Lys 160 following NO stimulation.
Figure 2: GAPDH interacts with p300/CBP and GAPDH-K160R acts as a dominant-negative mutant.
Figure 3: GAPDH increases the catalytic activity of p300.
Figure 4: GAPDH–p300 activates downstream targets, such as p53 and PUMA.
Figure 5: Influence of GAPDH and GAPDH-K160R on cell death.


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This work was supported by USPHS grants MH-069853 (A.S.); DA-00266, Research Scientist Award DA-00074 (S.H.S); NS-48206, NS-38377, DA-00226 (T.M.D, V.L.D) and grants from Stanley, NARSAD and S-R foundations (A.S.). We thank Yukiko L. Lema for preparing the figures and organizing the manuscript. We appreciate technical assistance provided by A. Kamiya.

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Authors and Affiliations



Ni.S. and M.R.H. were primarily responsible for experimental design and work, data analysis and preparation of figures, and helped to write the manuscript; M.K., M.C., B.-I.B., Ne.S. and B.T. contributed to data acquisition and analysis; T.D. and V.D. helped with the data analysis, provided technical assistance and material support; S.H.S and A.S. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Solomon H. Snyder or Akira Sawa.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Sen, N., Hara, M., Kornberg, M. et al. Nitric oxide-induced nuclear GAPDH activates p300/CBP and mediates apoptosis. Nat Cell Biol 10, 866–873 (2008).

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