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Adenine Nucleotide Translocator Cooperates with Core Cell death Machinery to Promote Apoptosis in C. elegans

Qinfang Shen,Fengsong Qin,Zhiyang Gao,Jie Cui,Hui Xiao,Zhiheng Xu,and Chonglin Yang

Mol. Cell. Biol
DOI:10.1128/MCB.01509-08

Abstract
In C. elegans, the central cell-killing process is essentially controlled by the interplay of four apoptotic factors: EGL-1/BH3-only protein, CED-9/Bcl2, CED-4/Apaf1 and CED-3/caspase. In cells destined to die, EGL-1 binds to CED-9 and results in the release of CED-4 from the mitochondria-tethered CED-9-CED-4 complex to perinucleus, which facilitates processing of the CED-3 caspase to cause apoptosis. However, whether additional factors exist to regulate the cell-killing process remains largely unknown. Here we have identified WAN-1, the C. elegans ortholog of mammalian adenine nucleotide translocator (ANT), as an important cell death regulator. Genetic inactivation of wan-1 significantly suppressed both somatic and germline cell deaths in C. elegans. Consistently, chemical inhibition of WAN-1 activity also caused strong reduction of germline apoptosis. WAN-1 localizes to mitochondria and can form complex with both CED-4 and CED-9. Importantly, the cell death initiator EGL-1 can disrupt the interaction between CED-9 and WAN-1. In addition, overexpression of WAN-1 induced ectopic cell killing dependently on the core cell death pathway. These findings suggest that WAN-1 is involved in the central cell-killing process and cooperates with the core cell death machinery to promote programmed cell death in C. elegans.

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