The programme of gene expression induced by RelA/NF-κB transcription factors is critical to the control of cell survival. Ligation of 'death receptors' such as tumor necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNF-R1) triggers apoptosis, as well as NF-κB, which counteracts this process by activating the transcription of anti-apoptotic genes. In addition to activating caspases, TNF-R1 stimulation causes the release of cathepsins, most notably cathepsin B, from the lysosome into the cytoplasm where they induce apoptosis. Here we report a mechanism by which NF-κB protects cells against TNF-α-induced apoptosis: inhibition of the lysosomal pathway of apoptosis. NF-κB can protect cells from death after TNF-R1 stimulation, by extinguishing cathepsin B activity in the cytosol. This activity of NF-κB is mediated, at least in part, by the upregulation of Serine protease inhibitor 2A (Spi2A), a potent inhibitor of cathepsin B. Indeed, Spi2A can substitute for NF-κB in suppressing the induction of cathepsin B activity in the cytosol. Thus, inhibition of cathepsin B by Spi2A is a mechanism by which NF-κB protects cells from lysosome-mediated apoptosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- Molecular Biology
- General Neuroscience