Activation of caspase-8 in drug-induced apoptosis of B-lymphoid cells is independent of CD95/Fas receptor-ligand interaction and occurs downstream of caspase-3


  • T. Wieder
  • F. Essmann
  • A. Prokop
  • K. Schmelz
  • K. Schulze-Osthoff
  • R. Beyaert
  • B. Doerken
  • P.T. Daniel


  • Blood


  • Blood 97 (5): 1378-1387


  • The activation of caspase-8, a crucial upstream mediator of death receptor signaling, was investigated in epirubicin- and Taxol-induced apoptosis of B-lymphoma cells. This study was performed because the CD95/Fas receptor-ligand interaction, recruitment of the Fas-associated death domain (FADD) adaptor protein, and subsequent activation of procaspase-8 have been implicated in the execution of drug-induced apoptosis in other cell types. Indeed, active caspase-8 was readily detected after treatment of mature and immature B-lymphoid cells with epirubicin or Taxol. However, neither constitutive nor drug-induced expression of the CD95/Fas ligand was detectable in B-lymphoma cells. Furthermore, overexpression of a dominant-negative FADD mutant (FADDdn) did not block caspase-8 processing and subsequent DNA fragmentation, indicating that drug-induced caspase-8 activation was mediated by a CD95/Fas-independent mechanism. Instead, caspase-8 cleavage was slightly preceded by activation of caspase-3, suggesting that drug-induced caspase-8 activation in B-lymphoma cells is a downstream event mediated by other caspases. This assumption was confirmed in 2 experimental systems-zDEVD-fmk, a cell-permeable inhibitor of caspase-3–like activity, blocked drug-induced caspase-8 cleavage, and depletion of caspase-3 from cell extracts impaired caspase-8 cleavage after in vitro activation with dATP and cytochrome c. Thus, these data indicate that drug-induced caspase-8 activation in B-lymphoma cells is independent of death receptor signaling and is mediated by postmitochondrial caspase-3 activation.