Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences
Death-associated protein kinase (DAPk) is an integrator of apoptosis and autophagic cell death
Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel
Autophagy is characterized by sequestration of bulk cytoplasm and organelles in double or multimembrane autophagic vesicles, and their delivery to and subsequent degradation by the cell's own lysosomal system. This cellular phenomenon has multiple physiological functions including protein degradation and organelle turnover. Increasing lines of evidence indicate that autophagy machinery may be recruited by an alternative, caspase-independent and nonapoptotic form of programmed cell death named "autophagic cell death". In some settings autophagy and apoptosis seem to be interconnected positively or negatively, introducing the concept of "molecular switches" or "integration points" between them. In this lecture, I will present data showing that a calcium/calmodulin-regulated serine/threonine kinase, DAPk, functions as an integrator of these two types of cell death, leading in some experimental scenarios to apoptosis or autophagic cell death and, in some others to a mixed type of cell death with both apoptotic and autophagic characteristics. The potential consequences of the switch between apoptosis and alternative types of cell death will be discussed from a basic and clinical scientific point of view.
May 17, 2006, 13:40, FENS L056