BAX contributes to Doppel-induced apoptosis of prion-protein-deficient Purkinje cells.


Research efforts to deduce the function of the prion protein (PrPc) in knock-out mouse mutants have revealed that large deletions in the PrPc genome result in the ectopic neuronal expression of the prion-like protein Doppel (Dpl). In our analysis of one such line of mutant mice, Ngsk Prnp0/0 (NP0/0), we demonstrate that the ectopic expression of Dpl in brain neurons induces significant levels of cerebellar Purkinje cell (PC) death as early as six months after birth. To investigate the involvement of the mitochondrial proapoptotic factor BAX in the Dpl-induced apoptosis of PCs, we have analyzed the progression of PC death in aging NP0/0:Bax-/- double knockout mutants. Quantitative analysis of cell numbers showed that significantly more PCs survived in NP0/0:Bax-/- double mutants than in the NP0/0:Bax+/+ mutants. However, PC numbers were not restored to wildtype levels or to the increased number of PCs observed in Bax-/- mutants. The partial rescue of NP0/0 PCs suggests that the ectopic expression of Dpl induces both BAX-dependent and BAX-independent pathways of cell death. The activation of glial cells that is shown to be associated topographically with Dpl-induced PC death in the NP0/0:Bax+/+ mutants is abolished by the loss of Bax expression in the double mutant mice, suggesting that chronic inflammation is an indirect consequence of Dpl-induced PC death.

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@article{Heitz2007BAXCT, title={BAX contributes to Doppel-induced apoptosis of prion-protein-deficient Purkinje cells.}, author={St{\'e}phane Heitz and Yves Lutz and J. L. Rodeau and Hadi S. Zanjani and Vanessa Gautheron and Guy Bombarde and Fabrice Richard and J P Fuchs and Michael William Vogel and Jean Mariani and Yannick Bailly}, journal={Developmental neurobiology}, year={2007}, volume={67 5}, pages={670-86} }