Cytoplasmic p53 and activated bax regulate p53-dependent, transcription-independent neural precursor cell apoptosis

Ying Geng, K. C. Walls, Arindam P. Ghosh, Rizwan S. Akhtar, Barbara J. Klocke, Kevin A. Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The prodeath effects of p53 are typically mediated via its transcriptional upregulation of proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members, including PUMA, Noxa, and/or Bax. We previously reported that staurosporine (STS), a broad-spectrum kinase inhibitor and prototypical apoptosis-inducing agent, produced p53-dependent, Bax-dependent, neural precursor cell (NPC) apoptosis, but that this effect occurred independently of new gene transcription and PUMA expression. To further characterize the mechanism by which p53 regulates NPC death, we used primary cerebellar NPCs derived from wild-type, p53-deficient, and Bax-deficient neonatal mice and the mouse cerebellar neural stem cell line, C17.2. We found that STS rapidly increased p53 cytoplasmic immunoreactivity in neuritic-like processes in C17.2 cells, which preceded Bax activation and caspase-3 cleavage. Confocal microscopy analysis of STS-treated cells revealed partial colocalization of p53 with the mitochondrial marker pyruvate dehydrogenase as well as with conformationally altered "activated" Bax, suggesting an interaction between these proapoptotic molecules in triggering apoptotic death. Nucleophosmin (NPM), a CRM1-dependent nuclear chaperone, also exhibited partial colocalization with both activated Bax and p53 following STS treatment. These observations suggest that cytoplasmic p53 can trigger transcription-independent NPC apoptosis through its potential interaction with NPM and activated Bax.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Bax
  • CRM1
  • Neural precursor cells
  • Nucleophosmin
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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