Original Article

The distinct role of guanine nucleotide exchange factor Vav1 in Bcl-2 transcription and apoptosis inhibition in Jurkat leukemia T cells

Authors: Jie Yin, Ya-juan Wan, Shi-yang Li, Ming-juan Du, Cui-zhu Zhang, Xing-long Zhou, You-jia Cao
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2010.185


Aim: To investigate a novel function of proto-oncogene Vav1 in the apoptosis of human leukemia Jurkat cells.
Methods: Jurkat cells, Jurkat-derived vav1-null cells (J.Vav1) and Vav1-reconstituted J.WT cells were treated with a Fas agonist antibody, IgM clone CH11. Apoptosis was determined using propidium iodide (PI) staining, Annexin-V staining, DNA fragmentation, cleavage of caspase 3/caspase 8, and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Mitochondria transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) was measured
using DiOC6(3) staining. Transcription and expression of the Bcl-2 family of proteins were evaluated using semi-quantitative RT-PCR and western blot, respectively. Bcl-2 promoter activity was analyzed using luciferase reporter assays.
Results: Cells lacking Vav1 were more sensitive to Fas-mediated apoptosis than Jurkat and J.WT cells. J.Vav1 cells lost mitochondria transmembrane potential (ΔΨm) more rapidly upon Fas induction. These phenotypes could be rescued by re-expression of Vav1 in J.Vav1 cells. The expression of Vav1 increased the transcription of pro-survival Bcl-2. The guanine nucleotide exchange activity of Vav1
was required for enhancing Bcl-2 promoter activity, and the Vav1 downstream substrate, small GTPase Rac2, was likely involved in the control of Bcl-2 expression.
Conclusion: Vav1 protects Jurkat cells from Fas-mediated apoptosis by promoting Bcl-2 transcription through its GEF activity.

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