Research Papers:

TAp73alpha protects small cell lung carcinoma cells from caspase-2 induced mitochondrial mediated apoptotic cell death

Naveen Muppani, Ulrika Nyman _ and Bertrand Joseph

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Oncotarget. 2011; 2:1145-1154. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.391

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Naveen Muppani1, Ulrika Nyman1,2, and Bertrand Joseph1

1Department of Oncology-Pathology, Cancer Centrum Karolinska, Karolinska Institutet, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden

2Present address: Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden

Received: December 19, 2011; Accepted: December 21, 2011; Published: December 22, 2011;

Keywords: p73, caspase-2, apoptosis, cancer


Ulrika Nyman, email:


Caspase-2 is ubiquitously expressed and the most evolutionarily conserved mammalian caspase. It can be activated by a range of death stimuli prior to Bax activation and the occurrence of apoptotic mitochondrial dysfunctions. Caspase-2 has also been reported to exert tumour suppressor function in vivo. The full length TAp73alpha isoform is found up-regulated in various tumour types, and is reported in a cell-type specific manner to repress drug-induced apoptosis. Here, we report that TAp73alpha represses caspase-2 enzymatic activity and by this means reduce caspase-2 induced Bax activation, loss of mitochondrial transmembrane potential and resulting apoptosis. The inhibitory effect on caspase-2 requires the presence of the DNA binding domain and SAM domain region of TAp73alpha. In conclusion, the ability of TAp73alpha to act as an inhibitor of caspase-2-induced cell death together with its up-regulation in certain tumour types strengthen the potential oncogenic activities for this protein.

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