Survival response in the skin


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PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Survival response in the skin
PELTZER M. de las N. A.
Widmann  C.
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Faculté de biologie et de médecine Université de Lausanne UNIL - Bugnon Rue du Bugnon 21 - bureau 4111 CH-1015 Lausanne SUISSE
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Apoptosis is defined as a programmed cell death process operating in multicellular
organisms in order to maintain proper homeostasis of tissues. Caspases are among the best characterized proteases to execute apoptosis although lately many studies have associated them with non-apoptotic functions. In the laboratory an antiapoptotic pathway relying on caspase-3 activation and RasGAP has been described in vitro. RasGAP bears two conserved caspase-3 cleavage sites. Under low stress conditions, RasGAP is first cleaved by low caspase-3 activity generating an N terminal fragment (fragment N) that induces a potent anti-apoptotic response mediated by the Ras/PI3K/Akt pathway. High levels of active caspase-3, associated with increased stress conditions, induce further cleavage of fragment N abrogating this anti-apoptotic response. In the present work I studied the functionality of fragment N-mediated protection in physiological conditions as well as the mechanism by which fragment N induces an anti-apoptotic response, with a focus on survivin, an inhibitor of apoptosis.
During my work in the laboratory I found that mice lacking caspase-3 or unable to cleave RasGAP (KI mice) are deficient in Akt activation and more sensitive to apoptosis than wild-type mice in response to stress. This higher sensitivity to stress led to augmented tissue damage, highlighting the importance of this pathway in protection against low stress. In parallel I focused on the study of survivin expression in the skin in response to UV-B light and I found that survivin is induced in the cytoplasm of keratinocytes in response to stress where it may fulfill a cyto-protective role. However fragment N had no effect on survivin expression. In addition, cytoplasmic survivin was increased in keratinocytes exposed to UV-B light, whether RasGAP is cleaved (WT mice) or not (KI mice), indicating that survivin is not involved in fragment N mediated protection.
Altogether these data indicate that fragment N is pivotal for cell protection against pathophysiologic damage and can encourage the development of therapies aimed to strengthen the resistance of cells against aggressive treatments. Importantly, this finding contributes to the characterization of how caspase-3 can be activated without inducing cell death, although further studies need to be conducted in order to completely characterize this pro-survival molecular mechanism.
Apoptosis, caspase-3, skin, UV-B
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19/10/2012 15:12
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21/03/2024 8:11
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