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Ferraro E.,Laboratory of Molecular Neuroembryology | Ferraro E.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | Ferraro E.,Laboratory of skeletal muscle development and metabolism | Pesaresi M.G.,Laboratory of Neurochemistry | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Cell Science | Year: 2011

The apoptotic protease activating factor 1 (Apaf1) is the main component of the apoptosome, and a crucial factor in the mitochondriadependent death pathway. Here we show that Apaf1 plays a role in regulating centrosome maturation. By analyzing Apaf1-depleted cells, we have found that Apaf1 loss induces centrosome defects that impair centrosomal microtubule nucleation and cytoskeleton organization. This, in turn, affects several cellular processes such as mitotic spindle formation, cell migration and mitochondrial network regulation. As a consequence, Apaf1-depleted cells are more fragile and have a lower threshold to stress than wild-type cells. In fact, we found that they exhibit low Bcl-2 and Bcl-X L expression and, under apoptotic treatment, rapidly release cytochrome c. We also show that Apaf1 acts by regulating the recruitment of HCA66, with which it interacts, to the centrosome. This function of Apaf1 is carried out during the cell life and is not related to its apoptotic role. Therefore, Apaf1 might also be considered a pro-survival molecule, whose absence impairs cell performance and causes a higher responsiveness to stressful conditions. © 2011. Source


De Zio D.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | De Zio D.,Danish Cancer Society | Molinari F.,Laboratory of skeletal muscle development and metabolism | Rizza S.,University of Rome Tor Vergata | And 10 more authors.
Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences | Year: 2015

The establishment of neuronal polarity and axonal outgrowth are key processes affecting neuronal migration and synapse formation, their impairment likely leading to cognitive deficits. Here we have found that the apoptotic protease activating factor 1 (Apaf1), apart from its canonical role in apoptosis, plays an additional function in cortical neurons, where its deficiency specifically impairs axonal growth. Given the central role played by centrosomes and microtubules in the polarized extension of the axon, our data suggest that Apaf1-deletion affects axonal outgrowth through an impairment of centrosome organization. In line with this, centrosomal protein expression, as well as their centrosomal localization proved to be altered upon Apaf1-deletion. Strikingly, we also found that Apaf1-loss affects trans-Golgi components and leads to a robust activation of AMP-dependent protein kinase (AMPK), this confirming the stressful conditions induced by Apaf1-deficiency. Since AMPK hyper-phosphorylation is known to impair a proper axon elongation, our finding contributes to explain the effect of Apaf1-deficiency on axogenesis. We also discovered that the signaling pathways mediating axonal growth and involving glycogen synthase kinase-3β, liver kinase B1, and collapsing-response mediator protein-2 are altered in Apaf1-KO neurons. Overall, our results reveal a novel non-apoptotic role for Apaf1 in axonal outgrowth, suggesting that the neuronal phenotype due to Apaf1-deletion could not only be fully ascribed to apoptosis inhibition, but might also be the result of defects in axogenesis. The discovery of new molecules involved in axonal elongation has a clinical relevance since it might help to explain neurological abnormalities occurring during early brain development. © 2015 Springer Basel. Source

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