Caspase-8 tyrosine-380 phosphorylation inhibits CD95 DISC function by preventing procaspase-8 maturation and cycling within the complex.
journal contributionposted on 15.07.2019, 11:31 by IR Powley, MA Hughes, K Cain, M MacFarlane
Caspase-8 is a key initiator of apoptotic cell death where it functions as the apical protease in death receptor-mediated apoptosis triggered via the death-inducing signalling complex (DISC). However, the observation that caspase-8 is upregulated in many common tumour types led to the discovery of alternative non-apoptotic, pro-survival functions, many of which are contingent on phosphorylation of a tyrosine residue (Y380) found in the linker region between the two catalytic domains of the enzyme. Furthermore, Src-mediated Y380 phosphorylation leads to increased resistance to CD95-induced apoptosis; however, the mechanism underlying this impaired response to extrinsic apoptotic stimuli has not been identified. Consequently, we have employed a number of model systems to further dissect this protective mechanism. First, using an in vitro DISC model together with recombinant procaspase-8 variants, we show that Y380 phosphorylation inhibits procaspase-8 activation at the CD95 DISC, thereby preventing downstream activation of the caspase cascade. Second, we validated this finding in a cellular context using transfected neuroblastoma cell lines deficient in caspase-8. Reconstitution of these lines with phosphomimetic-caspase-8 results in increased resistance to CD95-mediated apoptosis and enhanced cell migration. When the in vitro DISC is assembled in the presence of cell lysate, caspase-8 Y380 phosphorylation attenuates DISC activity by inhibiting procaspase-8 autoproteolytic activity but not recruitment or homodimerization of caspase-8 within the complex. Once incorporated into the DISC, phosphorylated caspase-8 is unable to be released from the complex; this inhibits further cycling and release of active catalytic subunits into the cytoplasm, thus resulting in increased apoptotic resistance. Taken together, our novel findings expand our understanding of the key mechanisms underlying the anti-apoptotic functions of caspase-8 which may act as a critical block to existing antitumour therapies. Importantly, reversal or inhibition of caspase-8 phosphorylation may prove a valuable avenue to explore for sensitization of resistant tumours to extrinsic apoptotic stimuli.