Caspase-3-derived C-terminal product of synphilin-1 displays antiapoptotic function via modulation of the p53-dependent cell death pathway

Emilie Giaime, Claire Sunyach, Magali Herrant, Sébastien Grosso, Patrick Auberge, Pamela J. McLean, Frédéric Checler, Cristine Alves Da Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Parkinson disease is the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder after Alzheimer disease. A subset of genetic forms of Parkinson disease has been attributed to α-synuclein, a synaptic protein with remarkable chaperone properties. Synphilin-1 is a cytoplasmic protein that has been identified as a partner of α-synuclein (Engelender, S., Kaminsky, Z., Guo, X., Sharp, A. H., Amaravi, R. K., Kleiderlein, J. J., Margolis, R. L., Troncoso, J. C., Lanahan, A. A., Worley, P. F., Dawson, V. L., Dawson, T. M., and Ross, C. A. (1999) Nat. Gen. 22, 110-114), but its function remains totally unknown. We show here for the first time that synphilin-1 displays an anti-apoptotic function in the control of cell death. We have established transient and stable transfectants overexpressing wild-type synphilin-1 in human embryonic kidney 293 cells, telecephalon-specific murine 1 neurons, and SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, and we show that both cell systems display lower responsiveness to staurosporine and 6-hydroxydopamine. Thus, synphilin-1 reduces procaspase-3 hydrolysis and thereby caspase-3 activity and decreases poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage, two main indicators of apoptotic cell death. Furthermore, we establish that synphilin-1 drastically reduces p53 transcriptional activity and expression and lowers p53 promoter transactivation and mRNA levels. Interestingly, we demonstrate that synphilin-1 catabolism is enhanced by staurosporine and blocked by caspase-3 inhibitors. Accordingly, we show by transcription/translation assay that recombinant caspase-3 and, to a lesser extent, caspase-6 but not caspase-7 hydrolyze synphilin-1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that mutated synphilin-1, in which a consensus caspase-3 target sequence has been disrupted, resists proteolysis by cellular and recombinant caspases and displays drastically reduced antiapoptotic phenotype. We further show that the caspase-3-derived C-terminal fragment of synphilin-1 was probably responsible for the antiapoptotic phenotype elicited by the parent wild-type protein. Altogether, our study is the first demonstration that synphilin-1 harbors a protective function that is controlled by the C-terminal fragment generated by its proteolysis by caspase-3.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11515-11522
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 28 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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